Astrophysics Colloquium

Prof Clem Pryke

22 Apr 2024
Seminars and colloquia
Dennis Sciama Lecture Theatre
Denys Wilkinson Building, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Keble Road, Oxford OX1 3RH

Prof Clem Pryke

Seminar series
Astrophysics colloquia
For more information contact

Studying the Beginning of the Universe from the Bottom of the World

Abstract: The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) is the thermal glow from the
Big Bang birth of our Universe.
Studying its pattern has taught us an enormous amount about the content,
evolution and fate of the Universe in which we find ourselves.
Basic theory allows us to push our understanding back to an
enormously high energy state, and infer the very particular set of
conditions which pertained at that time - almost uniform plasma with Gaussian,
scale free perturbations.
However, we need an even more radical theory dubbed "Inflation" to explain
how those conditions were set up.
If inflation did occur it will have injected into the fabric
of spacetime a background of gravitational waves, and searching for
this signal is currently one of the most important quests in all of
contemporary physics.
The current world leaders in this field are the BICEP/Keck experiments
which are located at the South Pole in Antarctica.
This talk will describe the cosmological paradigm, the
basics of the CMB, and then move on to how our telescopes work and how we
search for the imprint of primordial gravitational waves in the
polarization pattern of the CMB