The observed properties of the primordial fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) can provide constraints on physical theories in regimes otherwise inaccessible to experiment. Given the extreme conditions in the early Universe, the CMB is our best hope of uncovering fingerprints of the physics operating at very high energy scales, inaccessible to Earth-bound particle accelerators. But what created these primordial inhomogeneities? The Planck satellite has recently dramatically sharpened our view of this “first light” from the early Universe and provided a window into the origin of cosmic structure.
This talk will describe how the Planck data promote our understanding of the extreme physics of the very early Universe, and what we have yet to learn.
Hiranya Peiris is a Reader in the Department of Physics and Astronomy , University College London. She is a cosmologist working in both theory and observation, studying the fossilized heat of the Big Bang – the cosmic microwave background (CMB) – to understand the physics that governed the very early universe. She uses large surveys of galaxies to study the subsequent evolution of the universe, with a particular focus on measurements that constrain fundamental physics, and also works at the interface between cosmology and theoretical physics, to refine physical models that explain cosmological observations. The emerging field of astrostatistics, and the development of optimal numerical algorithms capable of handling very large datasets, are common threads that run through much of her work.
Lecture is free and open to all. For further details see www.tinyurl.com/glasgow-iop