BCCP talks

Tuesday, September 2
Speaker: Sirio Belli, Caltech
Location: Hearst Field Annex, B1 (also videoconferenced to 50-5026) – 1:10 pm
Title: “Deep Keck spectroscopy of 1 < z < 2.5 quiescent galaxies: constraining the size growth and the mass assembly of the red sequence”
Abstract: The most effective probe of the physical nature of quiescent galaxies is absorption line spectroscopy, which is particularly challenging at high redshift. Using the improved sensitivity of optical and infrared detectors at the Keck observatory, and the multiplex advantage of its new MOSFIRE spectrograph, we have undertaken a new spectroscopic survey of over 100 galaxies selected according to stellar mass and rest-frame optical color in the redshift range 1 < z < 2.5. Velocity dispersions and stellar ages derived from our spectra, together with HST-based sizes, provide valuable insight into the mass assembly of quiescent galaxies. We find that the stellar to dynamical mass ratio evolves with redshift, which might imply a change in the dark matter fraction or in the stellar initial mass function. We also find that recently quenched galaxies are systematically larger in size, which enables us to quantify how “progenitor bias” contributes to the observed size evolution. We conclude that at least half of the size evolution of the red sequence observed at z~1.5 is due to physical growth of individual galaxies.


For future BCCP talks, see this page.

BCCP Workshop in January 2014

BCCP Workshop: 5th annual Essential Cosmology for the Next Generation Meeting

BCCP and the Instituto Avanzado de Cosmologia Mexico held the 5th annual Essential Cosmology for the Next Generation meeting January 13-17, 2014, popularly known as Cosmology on the Beach. The conference blends a winter school of lecture courses by world-leading scholars with plenary talks on hot research topics. This year, topics included CMB polarization, gravitational wave cosmology, particle physics, tests of gravity, and statistical and experimental methods.

For slides from the BCCP/IAC meeting Essential Cosmology for the Next Generation 2014 workshop, click here. They are also available on the Presentations Page.

BigBOSS Gets a Kick-Start From the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation December 4, 2012


A $2.1 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to the University of California at Berkeley, through the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics (BCCP), will fund the development of revolutionary technologies for BigBOSS, a project now in the proposal stage designed to study dark energy with unprecedented precision. BigBOSS is based at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

“BigBOSS is the next big thing in cosmology,” says Uroš Seljak, Director of the BCCP, who is a professor of physics and astronomy at UC Berkeley and a member of Berkeley Lab’s Physics Division. “It would map millions and millions of galaxies, allowing us to measure dark energy to high precision – and would yield other important scientific results as well, including determining neutrino mass and the number of neutrino families.”

Dark energy is the unknown something that appears to account for almost three-quarters of the mass-energy of the universe and is the cause of its accelerating expansion. The discovery of the accelerating universe, announced in 1998 by two teams, resulted in the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, divided between Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter, leader of the Supernova Cosmology Project, and Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess of the competing High‑z Supernova Search team.

“After we won the Nobel Prize, the question we all heard most was, ‘Now that you’ve discovered dark energy, what comes next?’” says Perlmutter, who is the Executive Director of the BCCP as well as principal investigator for the Moore Foundation’s BigBOSS grant. “The answer is pretty clear: we have to find out what dark energy is. There’s no end of theories. To know which are possible, what we need most is the kind of accurate observational evidence that only BigBOSS and other advanced experiments can give us.”

More

Scientists Measure the Reionization of the Early Universe

New data from the South Pole Telescope indicates that the birth of the first massive galaxies that lit up the early universe was an explosive event, happening faster and ending sooner than suspected.

Extremely bright, active galaxies formed and fully illuminated the universe by the time it was 750 million years old, or about 13 billion years ago, according to Oliver Zahn, a postdoctoral fellow at the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics (BCCP) at the University of California, Berkeley, who led the data analysis.