Colloquium

21cm Cosmology as a Data-driven Frontier of Radio Astronomy

Despite tremendous recent progress, gaps remain in our knowledge of our cosmic history. For example, we have yet to make direct observations of Cosmic Dawn or the subsequent Epoch of Reionization. Together, these represent the important period when the first stars and galaxies were formed, dramatically altering their surroundings in the process. Radio telescopes targeting the 21cm line will open up these crucial epochs to direct observations in the next few years, filling in a missing chapter in our cosmic story while surveying a larger portion of our observable Universe than ever before. The data-rich nature of this venture demands new analysis techniques. I will describe several efforts along this theme, including the use of emulators to speed of computationally intensive simulations, as well as the use of statistical techniques to answer the fundamental question of "What does the sky look like in all directions at all frequencies?" I will then review our recent results from the Precision Array to Probe the Epoch of Reionization (PAPER) experiment, which have begun to shed light on heating processes during reionization. Finally, I will describe our recently commenced Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) experiment, including its forecasted promise to provide exquisite constraints on reionization astrophysics as well as on fundamental parameters such as the neutrino mass.

Followed by wine and cheese in Pupin 1402

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