Mapping the Universe

Friday, October 26, 2018 4:30 pm - 4:30 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

Phys10 Undergraduate Seminar Series

photo of Will Percival
Dr. Will Percival

Distinguished Research Chair in Astrophysics, University of Waterloo and PI

Large surveys of the positions of galaxies provide a wealth of information about the Universe in which we live. The Universe has an interesting history: after the big bang, matter was very evenly distributed. Small fluctuations in density did exist and the strongest over-densities grew under the influence of gravity to form galaxies and clusters of galaxies. This growth was opposed by the expansion of the Universe, which is currently undergoing a period of acceleration driven by unknown physics termed Dark Energy. Information about Dark Energy is encoded in the distribution of galaxies. By mapping the Universe as a function of look-back time (the time taken for the light from distant galaxies to reach us), we can constrain this physics. The lecture will start by reviewing how and why to make maps from galaxy observations. The statistics used to get science from these maps will be briefly considered, and what we know given current data presented. After this, future experiments will be presented, and if there is time we can have a discussion about whether it would ever be possible to use these maps to navigate a journey across the Universe.

We will be alternating each week between the 4:30 PM (RCH 101) slot and the 2:30 PM (STC 1012) slot. Even if it's not "your" section, you are more than welcome to attend (assuming no lab/class conflicts).

The Phys10 Undergraduate Seminar series welcomes everyone to attend.