This series consists of talks in the areas of Cosmology, Gravitation and Particle Physics.
High resolution CMB experiments, such as ACT, SPT, and the Planck satellite are making precision measurements of the secondary anisotropies caused by the thermal Sunyaev Zel'dovich (tSZ) effect from galaxy clusters. However, our ability to obtain cosmological information from this tSZ signal is limited by our theoretical understanding of the baryons in clusters and groups.
Understanding the physics of galaxy formation is arguably among the greatest problems in modern astrophysics. Recent cosmological simulations have demonstrated that "feedback" by star formation, supernovae and active galactic nuclei appears to be critical in obtaining realistic disk galaxies, to slow down star formation to the small observed rates, to move gas and metals out of galaxies into the intergalactic medium, and to balance radiative cooling of the low-entropy gas at the centers of galaxy clusters.
Photometric surveys are often larger and extend to fainter magnitudes than spectroscopic samples, and can therefore yield more precise cosmological measurements. However, photometric data are significantly contaminated by multiple sources of systematics, either intrinsic, observational, or instrumental. These systematics affect the properties of the raw images in complex ways, propagate into the final catalogues, and create spurious spatial correlations.
More than a decade after its discovery, cosmic acceleration still
poses a puzzle for modern cosmology and a plethora of models of dark energy
or modified gravity, able to reproduce the observed expansion history, have
been proposed as alternatives to the cosmological standard model. In recent
years it has become increasingly evident that probes of the expansion his-
tory are not sufficient to distinguish among the candidate models, and that
it is necessary to combine those with observations that probe the dynamics
Given a large landscape of vacua that statistically favors large values of the neutrino mass sum, $m_\nu$, I will present the probability distribution over $m_\nu$ obtained by weighting this prior by the amount of galaxies that are produced. Using Boltzmann codes to compute the smoothed density contrast on Mpc scales, we find that large dark matter halos form abundantly for $m_\nu \gtrsim 10$\,eV. However, in this regime structure forms late and is dominated by cluster scales, as in a top-down scenario.
Visible matter consists mostly of hydrogen and helium, only a small fraction
of which is in stars. Until recently, the bulk of the gas in the local
universe was in fact not seen. In the largest structures, massive galaxy
clusters, the gas is seen via its x-ray emission, but in the much more
numerous groups and isolated galaxies, it has not been possible to detect
it. I will describe how, in the last year or so, the situation has changed,
with the detection of a cross-correlation between the thermal SZ effect and