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Cosmic initial conditions and the CMB

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One new frontier in cosmology is the frequency spectrum of the CMB. Future instruments may be precise enough to measure deviations from the nearly-perfect blackbody, measuring a chemical potential and thus probing energy injection at extremely high redshift. I will discuss ($\mu$ and $y$-type) CMB spectral distortions from the dissipation of entropy (isocurvature)-sourced acoustic modes. I will then discuss how a high-energy phase transition could also source such distortions. I will then switch gears and talk about the possibility of measuring a spatial fluctuation in the baryon/DM ratio using the CMB, including recent observational results. I may also muse on the surprising possible connection between these compensated isocurvature modes and the anomalously low large-scale scalar power hinted at by Planck observations of the CMB temperature power spectrum and the recent claimed BICEP2 detection of primordial tensor modes