Description: Within the next decade, experiments measuring the anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) will add greatly to our knowledge of the universe. There are dozens of experiments scheduled to take data over the next several years, capped by the satellite missions of NASA (MAP) and ESA (PLANCK). What will we learn from these experiments? I argue that the potential pay-off is immense: We are quite likely to determine cosmological parameters to unprecedented accuracy. This will provide key information about the theory of structure formation and even about the physics behind inflation. If the experiments succeed, can anything spoil this pay-off? I focus on three possible spoilers - foregrounds, reionization, and defect models - and argue that we have every reason to be optimistic.
Date: October 1, 1997
Creator: Dodelson, S.
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