Argonne National Laboratory

Cosmology & Astrophysics

Cosmology & Astrophysics

For centuries, scientists have tried to fully describe the formation and evolution of our universe, as well as its composition. At Argonne, scientists study the cosmic background radiation that formed as a result of the big bang as well as the mysterious dark matter and dark energy which combine to form more than 90 percent of our universe.

Cosmology, the study of the origins and working of our universe, not only gives us answers that satisfy our deepest scientific curiosities but also help to validate and design new scientific theories that could give us insights into creating new technologies.

Computational Cosmology

The night sky, as seen by the human eye, appears to be a collection of stars; as seen by powerful optical telescopes, a collection of billions of galaxies. What actually dominates the Universe, however, is its "dark sector", invisible to our eye and only indirectly detectable by telescopes -- a new type of matter called "dark matter" and an entity termed "dark energy" that, very unexpectedly, is causing the expansion of the Universe to accelerate.

Cosmic Gamma Rays

One of the greatest challenges associated with modeling the formation history of the Universe is the general lack of knowledge regarding the nature of Dark Matter.

Cosmic Microwave Background

Remarkable progress has been made in the characterization of the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) over the last several years. It was nearly 30 years after the initial discovery of the CMB by Penzias and Wilson in 1965 before small differences in its intensity were measured by COBE and its spectrum was shown to be a blackbody to high precision. The finding helped motivate the inflation theory for the origin of the universe.

Dark Energy

The Dark Energy Survey (DES) group at Argonne worked to build and test parts of the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), and performed detailed tests of the CCDs. We are currently working on DES supernova cosmology, measuring the brightness and distances to thousands of newly discovered supernovae. We are also developing Ring Resonator nanotechnology with the goal of suppressing sky background lines that significantly limit ground-based near-infrared supernova measurements.