The Connection between Large Scale Structure and the Cosmic Microwave Background

Feb 11, 2019 - 11:00 am to 12:00 pm

Campus, Varian 355

Marcelo Alvarez (UC Berkeley)

Cosmic microwave background (CMB) photons were initially released at recombination, less than half a million years after the big bang. In the nearly 14 billion years since, they have been scattered and lensed by intervening structure, imprinting a complex pattern of additional intensity and polarization anisotropies onto maps of the microwave sky. These CMB maps therefore contain a wealth of information about the large scale structure (LSS) of the universe. I will first review the main physical effects through which LSS affects the CMB and the many outstanding questions in cosmology and galaxy formation that we will be able to answer in the coming decade with CMB observations. I will then describe the crucial step of building realistic computational models that incorporate these effects, based on existing theoretical models and observations, directly into the analysis pipelines for upcoming CMB experiments such as the Simons Observatory and CMB-S4. Along the way I will emphasize synergies between CMB experiments and galaxy surveys such as DESI and LSST. I will end with the computational and modeling challenges that lie ahead for making the most of LSS data at multiple wavelengths.