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Astrophysics Colloquium

The Limits of Cosmology
Presented by Joseph Silk
Institut d'astrophysique de Paris (IAP) / Johns Hopkins University

Thursday, November 19, 2015
11:00 A.M. in 169-336

Abstract
One of our greatest challenges is understanding the origin of the structure of the universe. I will describe how the fossil radiation from the beginning of the universe, the cosmic microwave background, has provided a window for probing the initial conditions from which structure evolved. Infinitesimal variations in temperature on the sky provide the fossil fluctuations that seeded the formation of the galaxies. The cosmic microwave background radiation has now been mapped with ground-based, balloon-borne and satellite telescopes. I will discuss how one might follow up on the Planck satellite which has given us a remarkable confirmation to high precision of what has become known as the "standard model of cosmology." This model is purely phenomenological and establishes a robust framework around which a number of fundamental issues remain unresolved. In order to make further progress, what is our optimal choice of future strategy?

JPL Contact: Leonidas Moustakas (3-5095)


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