New Measurements of the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect: Constraining Cosmology through the Growth of Structure

Event Date: 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 4:00pm

Event Location: 

  • Broida 3302

Dr. John Carlstrom - University of Chicago

The Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) effect is a small spectral distortion of the cosmic microwave background caused by the inverse Compton scattering of the background photons off the hot thermal gas in the deep gravitational potentials of galaxy clusters, the largest bound objects in the universe.

The beauty of the SZ effect is that its observed brightness is independent of redshift, thereby providing a powerful probe of the distant universe.

Furthermore, the SZ effect is a measure of the integrated pressure, or total thermal energy of the gas, and therefore should be an excellent proxy for the mass of the cluster. Massive clusters take a Hubble time to form and their evolution is critically dependent on cosmology, in particular the nature of dark energy.  This talk will review the SZ effect and its use for cosmology, and the new results from the recently completed South Pole Telescope SZ survey.