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Caltech Everhart Lecture Series Talk #1

Monday, May 8, 2023
5:00pm to 6:00pm
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Guggenheim 133 (Lees-Kubota Lecture Hall)
Imaging the Beginning of Time from the South Pole
Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Soliman, Applied Physics, Caltech,
  • Public Event

The Caltech Everhart Lecture Series is a forum for outstanding Caltech graduate students to present their path-breaking research in front of the Caltech community. This year's speakers will present scientific topics to a broad scientific audience while addressing current research challenges.

The talks are open to the general public. Refreshments will be provided outside the venue before the event!

For our first Everhart Lecture Series Speaker, we have:

Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Soliman

Imaging the Beginning of Time from the South Pole

Cosmic inflation proposes a period of exponential expansion in the early Universe which precisely explains the observed homogeneity and flatness of the universe as well as the physics of initial perturbations that eventually seed the formation of large-scale structures seen throughout the universe today. Inflation predicts a potentially detectable primordial gravitational-wave (PGWs) background that imprints a B-mode polarization pattern in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). The detection of a B-mode pattern would open a new window to probe the energy scale at the beginning of time when the universe was a mere fraction of a second old after the Big Bang. The BICEP/Keck experiments have been aiming to constrain the degree-scale B-mode signal from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station using series of small aperture refracting telescopes for the past two decades. The growth of technology improvement on BICEP/Keck experiments has led our team to have the world-leading constrains on PGWs through the data collected up to 2018 season, which helps us to better understanding how (or if) this rapid expansion occurred. However, the ultimate detection of B-mode is still limited by lensing and galactic resources, leading to the motivation for the latest experiment stage, BICEP Array.

BICEP Array is searching for the B-mode signal with unprecedented sensitivity levels by characterizing and removing Galactic synchrotron and dust emission from our CMB maps. My thesis aims to develop highly sensitive detectors and instrumentation to reach the ultimate sensitivity to search for this very faint pattern that left over from the creation of the universe, revealing to us what it was like in the beginning.  In this talk, I will discuss our team efforts on the design, challenges and successful deployment of BICEP Array to the South Pole during the past seasons.  I will also review the on-going efforts of gravitational delensing separation and our plan for future observations. Finally, I will share some amazing videos and photos that were taken for various educational outreach to STEM schools around the world while we were deploying BICEP Array at the South Pole. These educational events were mainly about science of the early universe, our BICEP Array experiment, and our daily life at the coldest place on Earth, the South Pole.  Such innovative events are needed to better engage students of all ages in science around the globe. Some of these videos have inspired many people and reached millions of views on social media.   

We look forward to seeing everyone at the Everhart Lecture Series!

For more information, please contact Rachel Tham by email at [email protected].