Wednesday, September 21, 2011
340 West Hall
Speaker: Dragan Huterer (UM Physics)A little more than a decade after the discovery of the accelerating universe, the nature of dark energy remains one of the greatest known yet unsolved problems in cosmology and physics. Ongoing and upcoming surveys of the cosmic microwave background and large-scale structure are excellent tools to understand dark energy. Nevertheless, it is now clear that this will be difficult, and patience in understanding dark energy may be required as I will explain. I will then review some other aspects of fundamental physics that will be sharply probed by large-scale structure. In particular, I will talk about current and future constraints on cosmological inflation using measurements of primordial non-Gaussianity and statistical isotropy of density fluctuations in the universe. I will outline the great intrinsic power of mapping of the universe using galaxies, some important systematic errors that need to be understood, and the complementarity of the large-scale structure and the cosmic microwave background measurements.