The Twisted Universe: The Cosmic Quest to Reveal Which End Is Up

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About Simons Foundation Presidential Lectures

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 anyone interested in the topic to join us for this weekly lecture series.
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The cosmic microwave background (CMB) has spectacularly advanced our understanding of the origin, composition and evolution of our universe. Yet there is still much to mine from this, the oldest light in the universe. Powerful telescopes are plying the skies in a quest to discover new physics. This talk concentrates on measurements by the POLARBEAR telescope, which pave the way for the upcoming Simons Array.

Dr. Keating will give an overview of an exhilarating branch of astrophysics: the search for the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). He will explain how the CMB can constrain phenomena such as primordial magnetism, elementary particle masses and even the origin of the universe itself. Further phenomena, such as tantalizing bounds on parity-violating Chern–Simons cosmic birefringence — the rotation of the polarization plane of cosmic photons — will be discussed. He will describe early attempts to measure cosmic birefringence using distant galaxies as well as state-of the-art measurements made by POLARBEAR. Keating will close by previewing the upcoming Simons Array.

About the Speaker

Brian Keating is a cosmologist at UCSD. He is the author of 100+ publications and two patents. He received his B.S. from Case Western Reserve University and his Ph.D. from Brown University in 2000 and was an NSF fellow at Caltech. He received the 2007 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers at the White House. He co-leads the POLARBEAR/Simons Array collaborations in Chile. He is a private pilot with multi-engine turbine ratings and a trustee of MoMath and the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

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