Institute of Astronomy

The Cosmology of Now and Then Through the First Light

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Richard Bond, Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA)23 September 2008Institute of Astronomy Colloquia

Abstract

This partly historical, partly current talk of the CMBolic path will
be of then, then of now, and then of future then. Then was big bang
nucleosynthesis, before and after the cosmic microwave background
discovery. Then is the emergence of what is now the standard model of
cosmology, in theory, and in experiment out of an era of: large scale
structure surveys and CMB upper limits; the nearly perfect black body
of COBE and UBC's COBRA; the COBE/FIRS/SP91 etal first detections of
anisotropy; the heterogeneous glimpse of a degree-scale up followed by
a down beyond in a host of mid-nineties experiments, hinting at the
long-sought acoustic mountain range in the CMB structure. All the
while the beautifully intimate coupling of theory and experiment was
guiding us to a nineties concordance of the eighties
inflation-motivated xCDM paradigm, of cold dark matter and x-energy;
and the constriction of the possible x into the x of dark energy.

In the nearby now is the CMB precision era, combining Boomerang, the
Cosmic Background Imager, ACBAR, and many more high resolution
experiments, with the low resolution COBE, revealing in full glory the
damped acoustic peak structure and emerging CMB polarization. And
WMAP1yr,3yr,5yr confirming and refining the weighty conclusions of
dark energy dominating dark matter dominating ordinary matter. In the
nearby then is a host of other CMB experiments, including ACT, SPT,
Planck, and Spider, to fuel our cosmic parameter game with data to go
beyond mass-energy contents and broad-brush inflation/acceleration
histories, to the subdominant mysteries that lie in the trajectories
of fields then - in the early universe - and now - the nearly present
epoch.

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