Taking the Measure of the Universe

Speaker: 
Gary Hinshaw (University of British Columbia)
Event Date and Time: 
Wed, 2011-12-07 19:30 - 20:30
Location: 
St. John's College - 2111 Lower Mall, Fairmont Lounge
Local Contact: 
Philip Stamp
Intended Audience: 
Public

The cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation is the oldest light in the universe - it is literally the remnant heat left over from the Big Bang. This fossil relic has survived largely intact and it provides us with a unique probe of conditions in the early universe, long before any stars or galaxies had formed. NASA has now flown two satellites devoted to studying the CMB: "COBE" and "WMAP". In this lecture I will describe what we have learned from these missions including: evidence for the Big Bang itself; new measurements of the age, shape, and content of the universe; and new evidence that all structure in the universe emerged from microscopic quantum fluctuations in the primordial soup.

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