Center Overview
Pushing Cosmology to the EdgeOur Center will push cosmology to the edge - to reveal and clarify the new physics underpinning it or to find the flaw within the current paradigm, either way transforming cosmology and particle physics.

Michael S. Turner, Director
John E. Carlstrom, Deputy Director

PFC Collaboration Meeting
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Cosmology and particle physics stand at a crossroads. In recent years, scientists have put together a remarkably successful model of cosmic evolution and the extraordinarily well tested Standard Model of elementary particles. In the current cosmological model, a rapid burst of expansion - inflation - occurred a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, laying the seeds for the formation of structure in the Universe. Those seeds have been observed as hot and cold regions in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. The assembly of galaxies from those seeds and the vast web of large-scale structure seen in galaxy surveys was shaped by dark matter, which dominates the mass in galaxies and clusters of galaxies. Finally, the evidence that the cosmic expansion is now accelerating has become incontrovertible, pointing to a Universe dominated by dark energy or else to a modification of Einstein's theory of General Relativity.

The success of the current cosmology rests upon its three mysterious pillars - inflation, particle dark matter, and dark energy - mysterious because they lie outside the Standard Model of particle physics. Cosmology has shown that the Standard Model is incomplete, and that there is new physics waiting to be discovered. In the coming decade, cosmology can help reveal the new physics underlying inflation, dark matter, and cosmic acceleration, and thereby play a critical role in pointing the way to a new paradigm for fundamental physics. The Physics Frontier Center at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) will bring together astronomers and physicists, theorists, observers and experimentalists, and early-career scientists and senior researchers from across the cosmology community. Since the complexity of these problems requires multiple, complementary approaches, the Center will enable datasets from different experiments to be combined in powerful new ways. As new discoveries are made, the Center will pursue new directions to promptly follow them up.

Major Activities
The "Pushing Cosmology to the Edge" PFC at the KICP comprises 8 Major Activities led by the 15 co-Is:


Research Hubs & Core Projects
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Five research Hubs (CMB Polarization, Dark Matter, Joint Analysis, Non-Gaussianity, and Supernova) bring together scientists and projects - from within the PFC and around the world - to get at the new physics underlying inflation, dark energy and dark matter. Four major projects anchor the PFC: the former Chicagoland Observatory for Underground Particle Physics (COUPP) which is now PICO, the Dark Energy Survey (DES), the South Pole Telescope (SPT) and the Dark Matter in CCD's (DAMIC) experiment.

Detector Development and Computational Cosmology are cross-cutting, science-enabling activities. The Conferences, Workshops, and Visitors MA will engage the larger cosmology community, and the Education, Outreach, & Diversity MA will provide opportunities for all PFC members to broaden the impact of their research. The Fellows MA are the centerpiece of the PFC, and the opportunities afforded them by the PFC will prepare them to be teacher/scholars and future leaders in cosmology.

Among the features of this PFC are continuing strong ties with the Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics, new ties to Argonne National Laboratory and 19 Key Collaborators from around the country.