Campus, Varian 355
The cosmic microwave background (CMB) provides unparalleled views into the early universe and its later evolution. Recent and ongoing experiments have contributed to our understanding of neutrinos, dark energy, and dark matter through measurements of large scale structure imprinted on the CMB and constrained the conditions in the early universe, tightly restricting inflationary and other cosmological models through measurements of CMB polarization. Next-generation CMB experiments will further constrain the sum of the neutrino masses and the number of relativistic species, expand our understanding of dark energy and dark matter, and set new constraints on cosmological models describing the first moments of the universe. The polarization in the CMB is faint, so future experiments must be at least an order of magnitude more sensitive. Additionally, both polarized foregrounds from synchrotron and dust emission and systematic effects from the instruments can create spurious polarization signals. Characterizing and removing foregrounds requires wide frequency coverage, while systematic effects must be modeled, mitigated, and calibrated at unprecedented levels. I will discuss several advances in instrumentation and modeling that will be critical for this leap in performance.