Fermilab AAAS/AAPT

AAAS Session:Origins and Endings: From the Beginning to the End of the Universe

Monday, Feb 16, 2009, 9:30 AM -12:30 PM

Summary:

The very-high-energy proton-antiproton collisions at the Tevatron and proton-proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are meant to dissect matter and space-time itself into its primary elements and generators. The experiments at the Tevatron and the LHC by synthesizing the information from the debris of the collisions are reconstituting the interactions that took place. The experiments at the Tevatron and the LHC are at the closest point of addressing in the lab some of the most puzzling fundamental observations in nature today such as the dark matter of the universe. This symposium will review the results from the Tevatronís largest-ever hadron collision data sets as the frontier energy baton is being passed to the LHC, the machine of unprecedented scale and complexity that will determine the future of the discipline of high-energy physics. The LHC starts operation in the summer of 2008, and the symposium will report on the machine and the two general purpose experiments: A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS (ATLAS) and the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS).

Presentations:

Eternal Inflation, the Early Universe, and the Multiverse

Speaker: Alan Guth, MIT, Cambridge, MA

Summary

I will review the theory of inflation, our best theory of the early universe, within the context of recent developments in cosmology and particle physics.

The Cosmic Microwave Background: Progress and Prospects

Speaker: John Carlstrom, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Summary:

I will review recent results associated with measurements of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, our most sensitive direct probe of the early universe.

Gravitational Waves as a Probe of the Early Universe

Speaker: Scott Dodelson, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, IL

Summary

The theory of inflation posits that small quantum mechanical fluctuations generated in the early universe seeded the majestic structure observed today. This theory of our origins has passed several observational hurdles over the past decade. The definitive confirmation, though, will come when astronomers detect gravity waves generated during inflation. The race is on to find these primordial ripples in the fabric of space-time. Understanding this ultimate of all origins appears to be within our grasp.

The Search for WIMPs in the Galactic Halo: the Quest to Detect the Dark Matter

Speaker: Daniel Akerib, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

Summary

Observational evidence from galactic to cosmological scales indicates that if Einstein-Newtonian gravity is the correct description of nature then the we are unable to account for the source of 80% of the matter in the universe. The nature of this unseen "dark matter" is different from that of ordinary matter, and provides clues to new forms of matter beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. A leading hypothesis is that Weakly Interacting Massive Particles were produced moments after the Big Bang, and today may be the massive relics that hold the Milky Way together. If so, it should be possible to detect them when they scatter from atomic nuclei in ultra-sensitive particle detectors operated deep underground. WIMPs have not yet been discovered, but searches to date have already begun to rule out some candidates which are also the quarry of the new Large Hadron Collider. A world-wide hunt over the next decade will hopefully discover dark matter -- and possibly resolve this decades-old mystery.

Our Miserable Future

Speaker: Lawrence Krauss, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Summary

I will describe how the revolutionary discoveries in cosmology over the past decade have completely changed our picture of the future of the universe, and of life within it.

 

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