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Prospects for CMB observations – Stephan Meyer

Date: Thu. November 11th, 2004, 4:15 pm-5:15 pm
Location: Rockefeller 301

Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation observation is the most important and cleanest probe of the early universe. Currently, most of the information comes from the large-scale temperature spatial power spectrum which is directly coupled to early universe physics and largely uncontaminated by astrophysical foreground emission. Future CMB measurements promise to provide further tests of early universe conditions and evolution. Small-scale temperature anisotropy and polarization measurements will tell us about the formation and evolution of the earliest structures and possibly even detect evidence for horizon-scale gravity-waves left over from the inflationary epoch. However, these measurements pose very considerable new challenges both because of contamination from foreground emission which will no longer be unimportant, and because the requirements on instrument sensitivity and systematic immunity will be far beyond anything achieved to date. I will discuss some of the experimental promise and fear and present an experimentalist-eye view of what the next decade of CMB science may bring.

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