"Looking for Signatures of New Physics in Cosmological Data Sets"

Speaker: Cora Dvorkin, Harvard University

When: March 14, 2018 (Wed), 03:45PM to 04:45PM (add to my calendar)
Location: PRB 595

This event is part of the HET Seminar Series.

Cosmological observations have provided us with answers to age-old questions, involving the age, geometry, and composition of the universe. However, there are profound questions that still remain unanswered. I will describe ongoing efforts to shed light on some of these questions. In the first part of this talk, I will explain how we can use measurements of the CMB and the large-scale structure of the universe to reconstruct the detailed physics of much earlier epochs, when the universe was only a tiny fraction of a second old. In particular, I will show how we can probe the shape of the inflationary potential, extra degrees of freedom during inflation, and the signature of possible particles with mass and spin during this period. In the last part of the talk, I will discuss how we can use observations of the CMB and the large-scale structure of the universe to improve our understanding of another open question in fundamental physics: the particle nature of dark matter. I will identify cosmological processes in which the particle interactions of dark matter are of relevance and show how we can use current and future cosmological data to probe these interactions both at large and small scales.