Echoes of the Early Universe - How the oldest observable light can teach us about fundamental physics

Jul 14, 2020 - 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Online — Zoom (meeting ID 992 1875 1554, password 094305) and YouTube

Dr. Jessie Muir (Stanford)

Echoes of the Early Universe

Because it takes time for light to travel to reach our eyes or telescopes, when we look at distant galaxies we are seeing not how they appear now, but what the Universe looked like billions of years ago. If we look far enough away, the light has taken so long to reach us that we can see all the way back to when atoms first formed in the very early Universe. The light we observe from that time, known as the Cosmic Microwave Background, is the oldest and most distant thing we can see. In this talk you’ll learn about that light, and what it can tell us about how our Universe evolved.

Dr. Jessie MuirDr. Jessie Muir is a postdoctoral researcher at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology. She came to Stanford as a Porat Fellow after completing her doctorate in Physics at the University of Michigan in 2018. She has a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a master’s from the University of Cambridge, where she studied as a Marshall Scholar.

Jessie’s research focuses on measuring the properties of the Universe on the largest scales to discover the properties of dark energy, to test our understanding of gravity, and to otherwise deepen our knowledge of fundamental physics. She works as part of the Dark Energy Survey (DES), a collaboration of several hundred scientists around the globe to map the galaxies over a large part of the sky and understand how they are distributed throughout the Universe. Within DES, Jessie co-leads a team searching for signs of physics beyond the cosmological standard model. She enjoys thinking about ways to combine information from different cosmological measurements, how to design experiments to protect them from the effects of unconscious bias, and how to communicate scientific concepts using cartoons.