Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge.
Science Motivation: The last decade has witnessed a dramatic increase in our knowledge of the z > 5 Universe. Ground and space-based studies have uncovered primordial galaxies that formed within 1 Gyr of the Big Bang. Spectra of the highest-redshift known QSOs have offered a glimpse of the intergalactic medium near the reionization epoch. Observations of the CMB and other probes have clarified the cosmological context in which the IGM and galaxies evolve. Meanwhile, increasingly sophisticated numerical simulations have provided laboratories for exploring many of the unseen processes that shape the early Universe.
Despite these advances, however, many of our most basic questions remain largely unanswered: What were the properties of the first stars, galaxies, and AGN? How and when was the IGM reionized? How did interactions between galaxies, QSOs, and the IGM at early times shape the Universe we observe at later epochs? The goal for this meeting will be to address these questions in the context of progress that can be made over the next three to five years. By combining insights from a wide variety of current observational and theoretical programs, we aim to deliver a more robust understanding of the z= 5-10 Universe that will guide scientific exploitation of next-generation facilities.
Topics to be covered: