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The Quest to Measure the Cosmic Initial Conditions

Physics/Astro Auditorium

Matt McQuinn (University of Washington)

March 30, 2017 @ 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Click here to view Panopto video recording of this talk.

Future constraints on the cosmological initial conditions and the different constituents of the cosmic energy budget will be driven by large-scale structure surveys, as we have extracted much of what is possible from our workhorse, the cosmic microwave background. I will discuss some challenges with using these surveys to understand how to relate what we observed to the cosmic initial conditions. I will mainly focus on a mini-revolution in how we understand the late time cosmos perturbatively, which potentially enables us to extract more information from the large-scale matter distribution. I will also briefly comment on some work my group is doing that is relevant to large weak lensing surveys (the era of large weak lensing surveys is dawning!) and the Lyman-alpha forest (a large-scale structure probe that has never been as successful as one might hope – we are working to understand why).