Fundamental Physics with the Simons Observatory
The Simons Observatory is a new cosmic microwave background experiment being built on Cerro Toco in Chile, due to begin observations in the early 2020s. I will describe the scientific goals of the experiment, motivate its design, and forecast its performance. The Simons Observatory will measure the temperature and polarization anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background with arcminute resolution over approximately 40% of the sky in six frequency bands: 27, 39, 93, 145, 225 and 280 GHz. In its initial phase, three small-aperture (0.5-meter diameter) telescopes and one large-aperture (6-meter diameter) telescope will be fielded. These instruments will host a total of 60,000 cryogenic bolometer detectors. I will discuss some of the key science goals of the Simons Observatory, including the characterization of primordial fluctuations, determination of the number of relativistic species, and measuring the mass of neutrinos. I will also discuss other tests of fundamental physics — some of which may be best measured using Cosmic Microwave Background observations such as the ones we are embarking upon.
About Brian Keating
Professor Brian Keating is an alumnus of Case Western Reserve University and a cosmologist with UC San Diego’s Department of Physics. He and his team develop instrumentation to study the early universe at radio, microwave and infrared wavelengths. He is the author of over 100 scientific publications and holds two U.S.Patents. He received an NSF CAREER award in 2006 and a 2007 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers at the White House from President Bush for a telescope he invented and deployed at the U.S. South Pole Research Station called “BICEP”. Professor Keating became a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2016. He co-leads the Simons Array and Simons Observatory Cosmic Microwave Background experiments in the Atacama Desert of Chile. He is a commercial pilot with multi-engine, instrument ratings and is a Trustee of the San Diego Air & Space Museum.