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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Statistical physics for cosmic structures


This research project has its roots in a series of collaborations at the interface between statistical physics and cosmology, between researchers who belong to both communities, focusing on a range of problems in cosmology approached with insights or methodologies coming from statistical physics. The specific issue, which initiated this activity, was the study of the clustering properties of galaxies as revealed by large red-shift surveys, a context in which concepts of modern statistical physics (e.g. scale-invariance) found a ready application. In recent years we have broadened considerably the range of problems in cosmology, which we have addressed, treating in particular more theoretical issues about the statistical properties of standard cosmological models. In this research project we propose, in addition to the above-mentioned topics, to consider new problems like the formation of non-linear structures in gravitational many-body simulations and the study of the fluctuation field of the cosmic microwave background radiation. What is common to all this activity is that it is informed by a perspective and methodology, which is that of statistical physics. Such interdisciplinary activity is an exciting playground for statistical physics, and one that can bring new and useful insights into cosmology.

The study of the large-scale structure of the universe is in an important and interesting stage characterized by a large increase of experimental data. In the future such a tendency will be emphasized by new measurements of galaxy distribution and of anisotropies of the cosmic microwave background radiation. As in many other scientific areas, a statistical-mathematical filter is necessary to process data and obtains the correct information to be compared with theories and hypotheses. The methods of modern statistical physics, which have been successfully applied in many different fields, represent a new framework for the understanding of cosmic structures.

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