Monday, January 23

Showtime: 7:00 PM

Chautauqua Community House

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Since its discovery in 1964, Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) has revealed terrific insight into the origin of the universe becoming a pillar of evidence for the Big Bang. Detectable by modern microwave telescopes, this ancient light captures images revealing clues about the universe from infancy.

Currently, CMB is being used to test a theory called “inflation.” Inflation postulates a rapid expansion of the universe that occurs a fraction of a second after its birth. This expansion seeded the universe with the first hints of structure growing into the “cosmic web.” Additionally, inflation is also believed to have launched gravitational waves in the fabric of space-time imprinting a subtle curling pattern in the polarization of the CMB light. Now, the race is on to search for this signal from the first moments after the Big Bang.

Dr. Nils Halverson, CASA Boulder, will review the discovery and history of CMB observations, what they have taught us about the history of the universe, and the story of the scientists who continue the quest to better understand the universe’s earliest origins.

Speaker: Nils Halverson, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences and Physics departments at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has spent the last 20 years building and deploying CMB experiments. He is currently collaborating on projects with telescopes at the South Pole, in Chile, and possibly in space.