University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Wednesday, October 15th 2014
3:35 pm:
Speaker: Clem Pryke
Subject: Detection of B-mode polarization at 150GHz and degree angular scales by BICEP2
Refreshments served in Room 216 Physics after colloquium

The theory of Cosmic Inflation postulates that our entire observable universe
was spawned from a minute quantum fluctuation in an incredibly brief burst of
hyper expansion. Inflation makes several predictions which appear to match
features of the actual Universe in which we find ourselves, and, in addition,
predicts that a background of gravitational waves will exist which may produce
a specific observable feature in the polarization pattern of the Cosmic
Microwave Background - the long sought B-mode polarization. Using data from a
specialized radio telescope called BICEP2 operating from the South Pole in
Antarctica our collaboration recently reported a high significance detection
of a B-modes at 150GHz and few degree angular scales. However new data from
the Planck space mission suggests that the detected B-mode may be due to an
unexpectedly high level of polarized emission from dust grains in our own
galaxy. I will describe the experiment and results, and the evolving situation
as regards dust.

Faculty Host: Shaul Hanany

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