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Dec 17 Lecture: Cosmic Radiation

The Cosmic Microwave Background and the Search for Inflation at the Beginning of the Universe

with Adrian Lee

100 GPB (Genetics and Plant Biology), UC Berkeley

Note our location has changed!
11 am

The Huan Tran Telescope, now part of the Simons Array, was the key detector of the POLARBEAR experiment to study the polarization of light from a period 380,000 years after the Big Bang.


Inflation is the leading theory to explain the first instant of the universe, a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang. The case for inflation is building, and now we may have the opportunity to observe the signature of gravitational waves from the inflation event embedded in the cosmic microwave background. If seen, these signals would confirm inflation, point to the correct model for inflation, and, given the high energies involved, teach us about fundamental physics such as quantum gravity and string theory.

Professor Lee will talk about how observations at high mountain top telescopes and satellites are paving the way to understanding the very beginning of the universe.

9 year WMAP image of background cosmic radiation (2012).

NASA / WMAP Science Team

Adrian Lee
Adrian Lee joined the faculty in July 2000. He received his B.A. in physics from Columbia University in 1986 and his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1993. At Stanford, he worked with Blas Cabrera on the early development of an experiment to detect non-baryonic dark matter. Following graduate school, Lee became a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford Medical School, where he worked on mapping functions in the human brain using magnetic resonance imaging. Subsequently, from 1994 to 2000, he did post-doctoral work at U.C. Berkeley with Paul Richards measuring spatial anisotropy in the 2.7 K cosmic microwave background.

Adrian Lee


This free public talk is presented as part of the monthly “Science@Cal Lecture Series”
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