December 6: Reconstructing the Inaccessible Cosmic Dawn

Science for the Public: Contemporary Science Issues & Innovations
December 06, 2022 Belmont Media Center, Belmont MA

Mark Vogelsberger, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

For some 200 million years after the Big Bang, the early universe was a completely dark, hot plasma consisting of subatomic particles. As the cosmos expanded it gradually cooled enough to allow the formation of the first simple atoms, light, and ultimately matter and gravity. To investigate this inaccessible “reionization” phase that led to the first stars and galaxies, physicists must devise very complicated models. Dr. Vogelsberger, known for some of the most accurate cosmic simulations of the earliest galaxy formations, describes the Thesan project he developed with other scientists at MIT, Harvard University, and the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics. This is of particular interest now that the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will eventually be able to site these earliest formations. Dr. Vogelsberger will also discuss other related simulation projects.

Some background