Lecture June 2nd--Cosmology: Prof. Bradley Johnson (Columbia)

Friday, June 2, 2017 - 7:30pm

7:30 pm   Lienhard Hall (3rd floor lecture hall), Pace University, Pleasantville, NY (map)

Cosmology is the study of the dynamics and evolution of our Universe. Humankind has wrestled with cosmological ideas for millennia. However, unlike our ancestors, we live in a time when cosmological observables and theory can be used together to answer some of the most fundamental questions about how our Universe began. These observables are being discovered and precisely characterized thanks to new technologies that allow us to look deeply into the Universe in new ways and image the cosmological landscape clearly for the first time. 

One of the most information-rich cosmological observables is the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB). The CMB is a bath of photons that permeates all of space and carries an image of the Universe as it was 380,000 years after the Big Bang. Physical processes that operated in the Universe when the CMB formed left an imprint in the CMB signal that can be detected today.  This imprint is observed as angular intensity anisotropy, linear polarization anisotropy, and spectral distortions.

Experimental research is now focused on using these CMB signals to (1) understand the very beginning of the Universe, (2) learn about large-scale structure, (3) constrain or discover exotic physics by searching for secondary effects like cosmic polarization rotation, and (4) study physical processes that operated in the very early Universe by examining distortions in the blackbody spectrum of the CMB.

Professor Bradley Johnson received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 2004.  Before joining the faculty at Columbia University, he was a postdoctoral researcher at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, University of California, Berkeley, Oxford University and Cardiff University.

June 2, 2017 at 7:30 pm. Free and open to the public.