The "Standard" Model of Cosmology...and Open Questions

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Date/Time:Monday, 26 Aug 2013 from 4:10 am to 5:00 am
Location:Physics 0003
Phone:515-294-5441
Channel:Colloquium
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Dr. Bharat Ratra (Kansas State University)

Experiments and observations over the last decade have provided strong support for a "standard" model of cosmology that describes the evolution of the universe from an early epoch of inflation to the complex hierarchy of structure seen today. I review the basic physics, astronomy, and history of ideas on which this model is based. I describe the data which persuade cosmologists that (as yet undetected) dark energy and dark matter are by far the main components of the energy budget of the universe. I conclude with a list of open cosmological questions.

Bharat Ratra is a Professor at the Physics Department of Kansas State University, that he joined in 1996 after working as postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University, Caltech and MIT. He earned a doctorate in Physics from Stanford University and a master's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi. Ratra works in the areas of cosmology and astroparticle physics, researching the structure and evolution of the universe. In 1988 Ratra and Jim Peebles proposed the first dynamical dark energy model. Dark energy is the leading candidate for the mechanism that is responsible for causing cosmological expansion to accelerate, one of the most significant scientific discovery in the last quarter of last century. Ratra current principal interests are the development of models for the large scale matter and radiation distributions in the universe and the test of these models' predictions with observational data.