KICP Colloquia: 2015
DateTalk TitleSpeaker
February 4, 2015Baryogenesis and New PhysicsCarlos Wagner, University of Chicago/Argonne
February 18, 2015Sterile Neutrinos in Particle Physics and CosmologyScott Dodelson, The University of Chicago
March 4, 2015Overview of the 2015 Planck full mission resultsJean-Loup L Puget, Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale, univeresité Paris Sud
March 18, 2015Baryon Acoustic Oscillations: A Robust and Precise Route to the Cosmological Distance ScaleDaniel J Eisenstein, Harvard University
April 8, 2015Measurements of B-mode Polarization at Degree Angular Scales with the BICEP / Keck ExperimentsJohn M Kovac, Harvard University
April 22, 2015A Galactic Scale Gravitational Wave ObservatoryMaura McLaughlin, West Virginia University
May 6, 2015News on the search for Milky Way satellite galaxiesKeith Bechtol, WIPAC / University of Wisconsin-Madison
May 20, 2015Double Disk Dark MatterLisa Randall, Harvard
October 28, 2015The Future of Cosmological Physics: New AvenuesMarc Kamionkowski, Johns Hopkins University
November 4, 2015The formation and evolution of the galaxy populationSimon White, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics
December 2, 2015Planck, BICEP, and the Early UniverseRaphael Flauger, The University of Texas at Austin

Baryogenesis and New Physics
February 4, 2015 | BSLC 001 | 3:00 PM
Carlos Wagner, University of Chicago/Argonne

Although physical reality seems to be well described by the Standard Models of Particle Physics and Cosmology, there are many open questions that do not have a direct answer within this framework. An important one is why is there Matter and not Antimatter in the Universe. The conditions for a dynamical generation of the asymmetry between matter and antimatter (baryogenesis) are well known, but cannot be fulfilled within the Standard Models framework. I will explain what are the basic conditions that must be fulfilled for baryogenesis to occur, some general classes of models in which baryogenesis is realized and the possible tests of these models in the near future.

Sterile Neutrinos in Particle Physics and Cosmology
February 18, 2015 | BSLC 001 | 3:00 PM
Scott Dodelson, The University of Chicago

The matter particle with the smallest mass, the neutrino, is also the most abundant in the Universe. Since their discovery, neutrinos have continually surprised us. Every time we think we understand the full scope of neutrino physics, data prove us wrong. We now understand the full scope of neutrino physics and can explain almost all observations with a simple 3-flavor model. Will upcoming data from accelerators and the cosmos prove us wrong yet again?

Overview of the 2015 Planck full mission results
March 4, 2015 | BSLC 001 | 3:00 PM
Jean-Loup L Puget, Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale, univeresité Paris Sud

The Planck collaboration has released the results from the full mission including polarisation.
The Planck space mission has fulilled its initial goal of extracting essentially all the cosmological information in the temperature map of the Cosmic Microwave Background. It has also detected the polarisation cosmological signals with unprecedented sensitivity over the whole sky.
The Planck mission performances will be illustrated by some spectacular improvements in calibration and reduction of polarized sytematic effects. The Planck view of the polarized microwave sky will be presented.
The extreme stability of the L-CDM cosmological parameters determined either from the temperature or polarization data is leading to a « standard cosmolgy model ». This includes also parameters related to the primordial universe physics.
The polarised foreground emission from interstellar dust has been mapped with a spectacular accuracy. The claim for detection of primordial gravity waves from the BICEP2 team using CMB data aquired from south pole will be discussed in the light of the dust B modes signal observed by Planck and the recent BICEP2-Plkanck paper. The future of the search for primordial B modes will be discussed.

Baryon Acoustic Oscillations: A Robust and Precise Route to the Cosmological Distance Scale
March 18, 2015 | BSLC 001 | 3:00 PM
Daniel J Eisenstein, Harvard University

I will discuss how the acoustic oscillations that propagate in the photon-baryon fluid during the first million years of the Universe provide a robust method for measuring the cosmological distance scale. The distance that the sound can travel can be computed to high precision and creates a signature in the late-time clustering of matter that serves as a standard ruler. Galaxy clustering results from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey reveal this feature, giving geometric distances to a wide range of redshifts and producing an accurate measurement of the abundance of dark energy. I will review our recent work on the theory and practice of the acoustic oscillation method and our latest cosmology results from SDSS-III on the expansion history of the Universe.

Measurements of B-mode Polarization at Degree Angular Scales with the BICEP / Keck Experiments
April 8, 2015 | BSLC 115 | 3:00 PM
John M Kovac, Harvard University

The theory of cosmic inflation postulates that the initial conditions of our observable universe arose from quantum fluctuations during a very early burst of exponential expansion. The BICEP / Keck Array experiments are a series of cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarimeters specifically designed to search for gravitational waves predicted by inflation by looking for the faint B-mode patterns they would imprint on degree-scale CMB polarization. Observing from the South Pole between 2010 and 2012, the BICEP2 telescope made maps of unprecedented sensitivity at degree angular scales over 2% of the sky, In March 2014 the BICEP2 team reported a high signal-to-noise detection of B-mode polarization at 150 GHz, at a level well above typical predictions of galactic foreground models for that region of sky, and consistent with a large contribution from inflationary gravitational waves. However, later last year high-frequency results reported by the Planck satellite indicated levels of polarized emission from galactic dust potentially high enough to account for the entire BICEP2 signal. In a recently published joint analysis that combines data from BICEP2, the Keck Array, and the Planck satellite, we find that there is not currently significant evidence for a gravitational wave signal, and we set the tightest constraints yet on its possible level. I will describe our current results and the continuing hunt for inflationary gravitational waves with the BICEP / Keck Array experimental program.

A Galactic Scale Gravitational Wave Observatory
April 22, 2015 | BSLC 115 | 3:00 PM
Maura McLaughlin, West Virginia University

Pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars with phenomenal rotational stability that can be used as celestial clocks in a variety of fundamental physics experiments. One of these experiments involves using an array of precisely timed millisecond pulsars to detect perturbations due to gravitational waves. The gravitational waves detectable through pulsar timing will most likely result from an ensemble of supermassive black hole binaries. I will describe the efforts of the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav), a collaboration which monitors an array of over 40 millisecond pulsars with the Green Bank Telescope and Arecibo Observatory. The most recent limits on various types of gravitational wave sources will be presented, and I will show how these limits are already constraining models for galaxy formation and evolution and the tension of cosmic strings. I will then describe the dramatic gains in sensitivity that are expected from discoveries of millisecond pulsars, more sensitive instrumentation, improved detection algorithms, and international collaboration and show that detection is possible before the end of the decade.

News on the search for Milky Way satellite galaxies
May 6, 2015 | BSLC 115 | 3:00 PM
Keith Bechtol, WIPAC / University of Wisconsin-Madison

The population of Milky Way satellite galaxies includes the least luminous, least chemically evolved, and most dark matter dominated galaxies in the known universe. These extreme objects have reshaped how we define a "galaxy" and provide a unique testing ground for both galaxy formation models and the cold dark matter paradigm. The current census of satellite galaxies surrounding the Milky Way is almost certainly incomplete. Ongoing and near-future wide-field optical imaging surveys are anticipated to find hundreds of ultra-faint Milky Way companions at lower luminosities, greater distances, and in less explored regions of the sky. A dozen new stellar systems have already been reported in 2015, and at least one these, Reticulum II, has now been dynamically and chemically confirmed as a galaxy. I will place these recent results in context and discuss how the emergent population of Milky Way satellites might enhance the sensitivity of indirect dark matter searches.

Double Disk Dark Matter
May 20, 2015 | BSLC 109 | 3:00 PM
Lisa Randall
Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science, Harvard University
Photo credit: Tsar Fodorsky.
Lisa Randall, Harvard

I will describe Partially Interacting Dark Matter and a possible consequence, Double Disk Dark Matter in which a dark matter disk is embedded in the baryonic disk. I will discuss possible implications and observational consequences and constraints, including implications for the satellites of the Andromeda Galaxy.

The Future of Cosmological Physics: New Avenues
October 28, 2015 | ERC 401 | 3:00 PM
Marc Kamionkowski, Johns Hopkins University

We now have a highly successful cosmological model in place, but one which leaves many questions unanswered. What is the new physics responsible for primordial perturbations? What is the dark matter? What causes an accelerated cosmic expansion? And why is there a preponderance of matter over antimatter? New generations of galaxy surveys will continue to map the cosmic mass distribution on ever larger scales and with increased precision, while CMB experiments are beginning to map the polarization B modes from inflation and from lensing. It is never too soon, though, to think about what else can be done with these new experiments and in subsequent generations of experiments. In this talk I will discuss a variety of new early-Universe fossils that can be sought with galaxy surveys and discuss new ideas to probe primordial power on scales far smaller than those accessible with galaxy surveys.

The formation and evolution of the galaxy population
November 4, 2015 | ERC 161 | 3:00 PM
Simon White, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics

Recent observations of the high-redshift universe have characterized the initial conditions for nonlinear structure formation over the full range of scales responsible for dwarf and giant galaxies, galaxy clusters and the large-scale cosmic web. At the same time, wide-field spectroscopic and photometric surveys have measured the abundance and clustering of low-redshift galaxies as a function of mass, size, morphology, kinematic structure, gas content, metallicity, star formation rate and nuclear activity, while deep surveys have explored the evolution of several of these distributions to z>3. Galaxy population simulations aim to interpret these observations within the LCDM structure formation paradigm, thereby constraining the complex, diverse and heavily interconnected astrophysics of galaxy formation.
Recent simulations are broadly consistent with the galaxy abundances and clustering seen in both wide-field and deep surveys, and provide predictions for topics as different as galaxy-galaxy lensing, the triggering and duty cycles of AGN, and the evolution of Tully-Fisher, mass-size and mass-metallicity relations. They show galaxy assembly histories to be strongly constrained by the structure formation paradigm, giving insight into issues such as internally versus externally driven evolution, inflow versus winds, major versus minor mergers, in situ versus ex situ star formation, and disks versus bulges. In addition, simulations can now be adapted to represent any chosen LCDM-like cosmology, allowing a first assessment of whether galaxy formation uncertainties will limit our ability to do precision cosmology with galaxy surveys.

Planck, BICEP, and the Early Universe
December 2, 2015 | ERC 161 | 3:00 PM
Raphael Flauger, The University of Texas at Austin

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 the conditions in our universe long before the cosmic microwave background was emitted. After a brief introduction, I will discuss various aspects of the recently released Planck full mission data before turning to a discussion of string inspired models and the search for their signatures. Finally, I will turn to the search for primordial B-modes.