Cosmic Microwave Background: Observational Tests of Theories of the Early Universe
Simons Foundation Presidential Lectures are free public colloquia centered on four main themes: Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Neuroscience and Autism Science. These curated, high-level scientific talks feature leading scientists and mathematicians and are intended to foster discourse and drive discovery among the broader NYC-area research community. We invite those interested in the topic to join us for this weekly lecture series.
We live in a remarkable era. We can directly see what our universe was like 13.8 billion years ago. We use observations to test some of our wildest imaginings about how our universe began. Eiichiro Komatsu will summarize the current observational results and the state of affairs on theories of the early universe.
In this lecture, Komatsu will describe the ‘cosmic microwave background,’ the light remnants of the Big Bang. With this light, we can directly see the physical state of the universe when it was very young. Detailed analyses of this light show a remarkable fact: All the cosmic structures, including galaxies, stars, planets and ourselves, originate from small quantum mechanical fluctuations present in the early universe. Such extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and Komatsu and his group believe they have such evidence. He will describe the physics of the cosmic microwave background, discuss observational results and explain what they mean for our understanding of how the universe began.
If this lecture is videotaped, it will be posted here after production.