The State of the Universe
Scott Watson Syracuse University
Room 202/204 Physics
Cosmological observations provide overwhelming evidence that our universe is almost entirely comprised of dark energy and dark matter, both of which have no theoretical explanation within the standard model of particle physics. The former is responsible for a current period of cosmic acceleration, much like that which occurred in the earliest moments of the universe. The early period of cosmic acceleration, known as inflation, was vital in providing the primordial seeds from which galaxies and clusters formed, whereas the late time acceleration could eventually lead to the vanishing of most structure in the universe. The driving force behind cosmic acceleration, as well as dark matter, still remains elusive from the point of view of a microscopic theory. Combined with fundamental questions, such as the origin of particle mass and how electroweak symmetry is broken, these conundrums require physics beyond the standard model. In this talk I will review both the theoretical and observational status of these issues with an emphasis on the excitement surrounding current and upcoming experiments.
Penny Davis, administration questions