This award funds the research activities of Professor Matias Zaldarriaga at the Institute for Advanced Study.
Astronomy and physics have a long and shared history. Advances and discoveries in one field have had profound consequences on the other. This is particularly true for our understanding of gravity. These days the major common arena has moved from the study of orbital dynamics to cosmology. The discovery of the accelerated expansion of the Universe is perhaps one of the best examples of how the two fields are currently intertwined. The study of the beginnings of our Universe is another rich frontier. The work of Professor Zaldarriaga will improve our theoretical understanding of the early universe and the observable consequences of our current models. It will improve our modeling of the astrophysics of several cosmological probes and will further our theories for the late time evolution of the universe, thus helping address the outstanding mysteries of dark matter and dark energy.
This project has considerable broader impacts, including the training of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Astronomy is a subject of broad appeal to the public; cosmology and the origins of our universe in particular. Professor Zaldarriaga will continue his outreach efforts which include public lectures, visits to middle and high schools and a lecture series at a senior citizen center.