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Is Cosmology in Trouble?
Given by: Dr. Gerrit Verschuur
Department of Physics

April 9, 2008
4:00pm in Manning Hall room 201

Refreshments served at 3:30pm in Manning Hall room 222

Examination of the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) images immediately fires the imagination, especially the summary image, the so-called Internal Linear Combination (ILC) map, that has received so much publicity.But do the small-scale structures in this map truly reveal the fingerprints of processes that took place shortly after the universe was born?Examination of nearly 1,000 detailed HI maps at hundreds of velocities has lead to the discovery that the morphologies of galactic HI and WMAP ILC structure in certain areas of sky bounded by galactic latitudes 30° & 70° are closely related.

To date, some 200 closely associate pairs of features have been identified and some of the most informative cases will be discussed in the context of what they reveal about interstellar phenomena.What has emerged from this study as it pertains to the nature of interstellar HI causes us to ask just how much we really know about its structure and dynamics.

The pattern emerging in the data suggests that in directions where two HI features (segments of filaments) are interacting, physical processes at their interface give rise to the weak continuum radiation observed by WMAP (and, by implication, COBE as well).If, on the other hand, all the apparent associations are to be attributed to chance one must ask whether we are so sure about interstellar physics that we can safely ignore the phenomenon in order to draw far-reaching cosmological conclusions from the WMAP data.

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