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Probing fundamental physics with multi-wavelength cosmology

Final Report Summary - PFPMWC (Probing fundamental physics with multi-wavelength cosmology)

Recent measurements of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) combined with the large-scale distribution of galaxies have defined a standard cosmological model. This model is a remarkable fit to the observations but also raises profound questions— we do not know how the initial conditions were imprinted in the early Universe, nor do we know the nature of the dark energy.

This project has involved the set up of a new cosmology data analysis team at the University of Manchester to tackle these issues. During the project, we have focussed on two important fields of observational cosmology which are uniquely suited to answering these questions— the polarisation
of the microwave background and weak gravitational lensing. The former is the most powerful way to probe the early Universe while the latter is potentially the most sensitive probe of dark energy. Building on innovative methods that we previously developed for the QUaD experiment, we have invented new analysis techniques to mitigate systematics and maximise the science return from current and future CMB polarisation experiments including the Planck satellite, and the future Simons Observatory and CORE satellite experiments.

In the field of weak lensing, the team has spearheaded the development of weak gravitational lensing using a new generation of radio telescopes. We have developed new ways of measuring the weak lensing signal using only galaxy orientations. Additionally, we have conducted an observational program using the UK's next generation radio telescope e-MERLIN to demonstrate our new radio-based weak lensing techniques. The results from the observational program are now imminent and will demonstrate the scientific potential of this novel way of probing the dark matter and dark energy of
the Universe.

This project has allowed my team to adopt an internationally leading role in both CMB polarisation and radio weak lensing research in advance of powerful new CMB experiments (such as the Simons Observatory) and the commissioning of the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope
towards the latter part of this decade.