BCCP talks

Tuesday, April 29

Location: UCB, Hearst Field Annex B-1, 1:10 pm
Speaker: Charlie Conroy, UCSC
Title: “Extragalactic Archeology”
Abstract: One of the primary avenues for understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies is through studying their stellar populations. A new generation of population synthesis tools that we have been developing are now capable of measuring an unprecedented amount of information from high quality spectra of galaxies. In this talk, I will present results from an ongoing program aimed at measuring the stellar initial mass function, ages, and detailed elemental abundance patterns of early-type galaxies over the interval 0 < z < 1. Constraints on the abundances of the alpha, iron peak, and neutron capture elements offer the promise of reconstructing the detailed star formation histories of these now dormant galaxies. By measuring the evolution of these quantities through cosmic time, we are gaining fresh insights into the assembly histories of galaxies. The techniques we are developing will enable `extragalactic chemical tagging’ and, more generally, will open up the low resolution universe for detailed study.

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.