LDRD Seminar Series: ‘Exploring the Universe with Full-Sky Simulations of the Cosmic Microwave Background’
Physicist and Computational Scientist Katrin Heitmann (HEP) will discuss her Laboratory-Directed Research and Development (LDRD) sponsored work at the LDRD Seminar Series presentation Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
“Exploring the Universe with Full-Sky Simulations of the Cosmic Microwave Background” will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the Bldg. 203 Auditorium. All are welcome to attend.
Rapid advances in cosmological observations over the past decade have resulted in the so-called standard model of cosmology. In this model, the dominant form of matter in the Universe is a mysterious non-luminous component, termed dark matter, while most of the energy density is in an exotic component — dubbed dark energy — responsible for accelerating the expansion rate of the Universe. Together with observations of the distribution of galaxies and other luminous objects, precise measurements of the fluctuations of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) have played a central role in shaping the cosmological standard model.
Research in the CMB field is currently witnessing a paradigm shift through measurements of arc-minute scale anisotropies by a new generation of telescopes, most notably the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT), the South Pole Telescope (SPT) and the Planck Satellite. By combining these high resolution CMB observations with large scale structure surveys, it is possible to address and connect some of the most fundamental questions in physics about the make-up and evolution of our Universe. To fully realize the potential of these exquisite measurements, a new generation of simulation and analysis studies is needed. In addition, a rigorous assessment of potential contaminants due to astrophysical foregrounds and instrumental systematics is necessary. Only a leap forward in theory, modeling, and simulation will enable success in these tasks.
In this talk I will report on a new simulation and modeling capability we have developed to investigate cross-correlations of data from CMB and optical surveys. I will highlight the importance of this new capability by discussing the detection of the kinematic Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect with data from the Dark Energy Survey combined with South Pole Telescope data. Simulations played an essential role in this exciting discovery.
Katrin Heitmann received her Dr. rer. nat. in physics from the Technical University of Dortmund in 2000. From 2000–2003 she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Theoretical Division. In 2004 she became a staff member at Los Alamos and in 2011 moved to Argonne National Laboratory for a joint appointment in the High Energy Physics and Mathematics and Computer Science Divisions. Heitmann is a Senior Member of the Computation Institute at the University of Chicago and the Kavli Institute for Physical Cosmology.