Presentation Archive

An Uncooperative Universe: Large Scale Anomalies in the CMB

Glenn Starkman (Case Western Reserve University)

April 16, 2015

Abstract: The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation is our most important source of information about the early universe. Many of its features are in good agreement with the predictions of the so-called standard model of cosmology — the Lambda Cold Dark Matter Inflationary Big Bang Theory. However, the large-angle fluctuations of the microwave background are uncooperative with “the program” — they continue to exhibit several statistically significant anomalies. On the one hand, if we look at the whole sky the lowest multipoles seem to be correlated both with each other and with the geometry of the solar system. On the other hand, when we look just at the part of the sky that we most trust – the part outside the galactic plane – there is a dramatic lack of large angle correlations. So much so that it challenges basic predictions of the standard model. We will discuss these anomalies and how we might test whether they reflect profound underlying physics, or just statistical flukes.