7:30 pm, Wednesday, December 7, 2011|
Fairmont Lounge, St. John's College
Taking the Measure of the Universe
University of British Columbia
The cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation is the oldest light in the universe - it is literally the remnant heat left over from the Big Bang. This fossil relic has survived largely intact and it provides us with a unique probe of conditions in the early universe, long before any stars or galaxies had formed. NASA has now flown two satellites devoted to studying the CMB: "COBE" and "WMAP". In this lecture I will describe what we have learned from these missions including: evidence for the Big Bang itself; new measurements of the age, shape, and content of the universe; and new evidence that all structure in the universe emerged from microscopic quantum fluctuations in the primordial soup.
Additional resources for this talk: slides, video.
Movies from the talk: Homogeneous Expansion, A journey: Out in Space, Back in Time, Gravitational Growth of Structure, Fingerprint of the Universe,
Geometry of the Universe.