By: Andrei Mesinger (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa)
Date/Time: 6-03-2017 / 12:00:00
Place: DAM seminar room (724), 7th floor. Physics Faculty, UB
The birth of the first stars, black holes and galaxies heralded the end of the cosmic Dark Ages and the beginning of the Cosmic Dawn. The light from these objects heated and ionized almost every atom in existence, culminating in the Epoch of Reionization: the final major phase change of the Universe. This final frontier of astrophysical cosmology is undergoing a transition from an observationally-starved epoch to a "Big Data" field. This process is set to culminate with upcoming Square Kilometre Array observations of the redshifted 21-cm line: providing a 3D map of the first billion years of our Universe. I will discuss the recent clues to reionization, obtained from the CMB, high-redshift galaxies, and quasars. I will present the first detection of ongoing reionization, found in the spectrum of a z=7.1 quasar. Finally, I will showcase the physical bounty of the upcoming 21-cm observations. I will discuss the innovative modeling techniques we are developing to tap into this bounty, allowing us to constrain astrophysical parameters in a fully Bayesian framework.