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Physics and Astronomy

Physics & Astronomy Colloquium

3:30 PM, Friday, October 14, 2011
Room 155, Chem-Phys Building

Dr. Adam Lidz
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Pennsylvania State University

"First Light and Reionization''

An exciting frontier in observational and theoretical cosmology is to understand the properties of the Universe between the ages of 400,000 years and 1 billion years, compared to its present 14 billion years of age. A confluence of data sets from a variety of wavebands will allow us to probe the latter part of this frontier in the next few years, constraining the Universe's properties a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. We expect that around this time, the first galaxies turned on, emitted ultraviolet light and ionized "bubbles" of hydrogen gas around them. These bubbles grew, merged and eventually filled the entire volume of the Universe, in a process known as reionization. Understanding this process will constrain the properties of the first luminous sources, and fill in a significant gap in our story of structure formation, whereby the Universe transitions from simple initial conditions to its present day complexity. Towards this end, I will describe recent efforts to theoretically model cosmic reionization and the prospects for some upcoming observations.

Refreshments will be served in CP 179 at 3:15 PM