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Understanding the Origin of Cosmic Structure

Understanding the Origin of Cosmic Structure

Objective

The early universe is a “laboratory” for testing physics at very high energies, up to a trillion times greater than the energies reached by the Large Hadron Collider. The origin of structure in the universe is deeply tied to this extreme physics, which is imprinted in the primordial ripples seen in the cosmic microwave background (CMB). CMB data have thus far led the way in constraining early universe physics, and ESA’s Planck satellite is currently mapping the CMB at the highest precision ever achieved. However, next generation galaxy surveys – such as the Dark Energy Survey (DES), starting next year – will rival the CMB in their ability to unlock the secrets of the primordial universe. I will use the Planck and DES data to rigorously test the theory of inflation, the dominant paradigm for the origin of cosmic structure, and to seek signatures of new physics that are likely to exist at these unexplored energies.
I have already played a leading role in bringing theory and robust data analysis together to understand the very early universe. This proposal aims, for the first time, to go beyond simply testing generic predictions of the inflationary paradigm, to gain a fundamental understanding of the physics responsible for the origin of cosmic structure. The keys to achieving this goal are: theoretical modelling at the cutting edge of fundamental physics (describing not just the inflationary period but also pre- and post-inflationary physics); advanced Bayesian and wavelet methods to extract reliable information from the data; a deep understanding of data limitations and control of systematics. The project will produce definitive results at the interface of cosmology and high energy physics, defining the frontiers of these fields well beyond the lifetimes of the surveys themselves.
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Principal Investigator

Hiranya Vajramani Peiris (Dr.)

Host institution

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

Address

Gower Street
Wc1e 6bt London

United Kingdom

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 1 493 066

Principal Investigator

Hiranya Vajramani Peiris (Dr.)

Administrative Contact

Giles Machell (Mr.)

Beneficiaries (1)

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UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 1 493 066

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 306478

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 January 2013

  • End date

    31 December 2018

Funded under:

FP7-IDEAS-ERC

  • Overall budget:

    € 1 493 066

  • EU contribution

    € 1 493 066

Hosted by:

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

United Kingdom