Cosmology & Gravitation

This series consists of talks in the areas of Cosmology, Gravitation and Particle Physics.

Seminar Series Events/Videos

May 26 2015 - 11:00am
Room #: 400
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Tuesday Apr 28, 2015
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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. I will discuss how cross correlation methods are providing new windows into the messy “Gastrophysics” of the intracluster medium and the potential for these methods to constrain various cosmological parameters.

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Tuesday Apr 21, 2015
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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.

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Tuesday Apr 14, 2015
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Weak gravitational lensing is a highly valued tool for inferring the structure of the spacetime metric between an observer and a cosmologically distant “wallpaper,” most commonly either the CMB or faint background galaxies.

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Monday Apr 13, 2015
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Tuesday Apr 07, 2015
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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.

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Tuesday Mar 31, 2015

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 

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Tuesday Mar 24, 2015
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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.

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Tuesday Mar 10, 2015
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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

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Tuesday Mar 03, 2015
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The cosmic microwave background contains a wealth of
information about cosmology as well as high energy physics. It tells
us about the composition and geometry of the universe, the properties
of neutrinos, dark matter, and even about the conditions in our
universe long before the cosmic microwave background was emitted.
After a brief review of what we may hope to learn from studies of the
cosmic microwave background about the early universe, I will review
measurements of the angular power spectrum of temperature

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