Special Colloquium:  (Serin 385, 1:30PM, Thursday Sep. 8, 2016)

Probing Dark Energy and Dark Matter with High-redshift Galaxies in the Era of Big Data                                                                                                                                                                     


Eric Gawiser (Rutgers University)                                                                                                                       


The spatial clustering of distant galaxies is a powerful probe of both the nature of those galaxies and of fundamental physics.  I will summarize recent measurements of the physical properties of high-redshift galaxies made at Rutgers.  Understanding these galaxies allows us to mitigate systematic errors as we use them to study cosmology.   The HETDEX experiment is using our Bayesian classification method to discover 700,000 high-redshift Lyman alpha-emitting galaxies and will use their clustering to determine the dark energy equation-of-state and to measure the spatial curvature of the Universe.  As the leading example of "Big Data" in astronomy, the forthcoming Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will produce over 50 petabytes of images.  These images will reveal billions of distant galaxies whose clustering we will use to determine the evolution of the dark energy equation-of-state, to seek evidence for modifications to General Relativity, and to measure the masses of cosmological neutrinos.  I will present a Rutgers study of improvements to the LSST experimental design that will reduce systematic errors in these measurements.