Physics Colloquium Talk
Lindsey Bleem ('05) is a Director's Fellow at Argonne National Laboratory.
Abstract: The South Pole Telescope (SPT) is a 10-meter millimeter-wavelength telescope located at the geographic South Pole. In Fall 2011 the SPT completed a three band (90, 150, 220 GHz) survey of 2500 square degrees of the southern sky. This survey has led to a number of breakthrough scientific results including the discovery of hundreds of high-redshift massive galaxy clusters via the thermal Sunyaev–Zel'dovich (SZ) effect. The abundance of such galaxy clusters is a powerful probe of the Dark Energy (the mysterious substance driving the accelerated expansion of the Universe) since it depends upon both the expansion history of the universe and the growth of density fluctuations. Here I will highlight upcoming cosmological results derived from this cluster sample and discuss on-going efforts to improve the calibration of the mass-SZ observable relation. With improved mass calibration, the SPT cluster sample will constrain the Dark Energy equation of state parameter with a precision comparable to the best current constraints from geometric measurements of the universe, and, by measuring the effect of Dark Energy on the growth of structure, serve as an independent test of the standard dark energy model.
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