Cosmic microwave background: Past, future, and present

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Anisotropies in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) carry an enormous amount of information about the early universe. The anisotropy spectrum depends sensitively on close to a dozen cosmological parameters, some of which have never been measured before. Experiments over the next decade will help us extract these parameters, teaching us not only about the early universe, but also about physics at unprecedented energies. One of the dangers now is that scientist are tempted to ignore the present data and rely too much on the future. This would be a shame, for hundreds of individuals have put in a great amount ... continued below

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22 pages

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Dodelson, S. April 10, 2000.

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Anisotropies in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) carry an enormous amount of information about the early universe. The anisotropy spectrum depends sensitively on close to a dozen cosmological parameters, some of which have never been measured before. Experiments over the next decade will help us extract these parameters, teaching us not only about the early universe, but also about physics at unprecedented energies. One of the dangers now is that scientist are tempted to ignore the present data and rely too much on the future. This would be a shame, for hundreds of individuals have put in a great amount of time building state-of-the-art instruments, making painstaking observations at remote places on and off the globe. It seems unfair to ignore all the data that has been taken to date simply because there will be more and better data in the future. The author then makes the following claims: (1) the theory of CMB anisotropies is understood; (2) using this understanding, he is able to extract from future observations extremely accurate measurements of about ten cosmological parameters; (3) taken at face value, present data determines one of these parameters, the curvature of the universe; and (4) the present data is good enough that the measurements should be believed. The first of these claims are well-known. The last claim is more controversial, but the author presents evidence for it.

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22 pages

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  • Lepton-Photon/99, Stanford, CA (US), 08/14/1999

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  • Report No.: FERMILAB-Conf-99/382-A
  • Grant Number: AC02-76CH03000
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 753490
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc712557

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • April 10, 2000

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  • Sept. 12, 2015, 6:31 a.m.

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  • April 1, 2016, 5:19 p.m.

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Dodelson, S. Cosmic microwave background: Past, future, and present, article, April 10, 2000; Batavia, Illinois. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc712557/: accessed July 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.