Upcoming Events

BICEP2 and the Keck Array: Probing Inflationary Physics from the South Pole

October 1, 2013 12:00PM to 1:00PM
Presenter 
Martin Lueker, California Institute of Technology
Location 
Building 362, Room F108
Type 
Seminar
Series 
HEP Lunch Seminar
Abstract:
Most of the surprising coincidences in contemporary cosmology are theoretically explained by invoking a period of extremely rapid inflation during the first 10^-36 seconds. This theory predicts a stochastic background of gravitational waves, which should in turn manifest themselves as unique B-mode distortions in the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background. However such a measurement would require a polarization sensitivity at the level of about 10-100nK. Such a measurement represents a challenge in both raw instrument sensitivity and control of polarization systematics. In this talk I will discuss BICEP2 and the Keck Array, a series of high-precision millimeter-wavelength polarimeters continuing the search for inflationary B-modes from the South Pole. Through a mixture of cutting-edge detector designs and novel analysis techniques, these instruments are well-poised to lead the search for the first direct evidence of inflation.