Astronomy Seminar: Detection of B-mode Polarization at Degree Scales using BICEP2

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 14:00 - 15:00
Stefan Fliescher, University of Minnesota
Using the specialized radio telescope BICEP2 operating from the South Pole in Antarctica our collaboration recently reported the detection of B-mode polarization at degree scales in the Cosmic Microwave Background. By making super sensitive maps of the polarization of the CMB we find evidence for primordial gravitational waves. The theory of Cosmic Inflation postulates such gravitational waves to be produced from quantum fluctuations during an incredibly brief burst of hyper expansion in the very early universe. BICEP2 hence finds the first direct evidence of this long sought "smoking gun" of Inflation. The experiment and results will be described.