Searching for Cosmic Anomalies
Maps of the pattern of temperature and polarisation fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) have played a crucial part in the establishment of a standard cosmological model which gives a good theoretical account of most features of the observable Universe but leaves a number of fundamental questions about the primordial Universe unanswered.
Looking for evidence of physics beyond the standard model requires a much more sophisticated analysis of cosmological data sets – either alone or in combination with each other - than has previously been attempted.
This project will involve developing, testing and applying innovative statistical analysis techniques to real and simulated data sets with a view to identifying anomalous features that cannot be described by the standard model.
This might provide evidence for new physics beyond that which can be described with the relatively simple methods that have been used so far. These have been largely based on the angular power spectrum.
The focus will be on the state-of-the-art CMB data sets (especially from the Planck satellite), but the methods developed will have a much broader applicability in cosmology and astrophysics and in other fields too.
Please contact the supervisor if you want to pursue this project, or find out more about our PhD programme in Physics and Astronomy.