Carlos J. A. P. Martins
Cosmology and particle physics are in an exciting period. Both have remarkably successful standard models, which agree with a plethora of experimental and observational data. But there are also strong hints that neither model is complete, and that new physics may be within the reach of the next generation of probes. The evidence for the universe's acceleration demonstrates that our well established theories of particles and gravity are incomplete, if not incorrect. Although this enigma emerged within cosmology and from astrophysical observations, it has major most important contribution to physics in our generation.
These hints are so far smoke without a smoking gun, and we will search for the gun. Specifically, we will use the forthcoming Plank data to carry out precision astrophysical and cosmological tests of the standard 'concordance' model. We have two key goals:
1.- Obtaining new state-of-the-art measurements of the fine-structure constant, the proton-to-electron mass ratio and Newton's constant, by exploiting opportunities provided by ESA's Planck and other improving datasets. In particular we will for the first time carry out a systematic study of joint constraints on several couplings, thus exploring the entire range of allowed particle physics (unification) models.
2.- Studying the role of galaxy clusters and Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effects as probes of fundamental physics, in particular by optimizing methods to test the temperature-redshift relation, which will provide essential consistency tests for any claims of evidence for new physics. Proof of concept analysis for these methods exist, but they are not yet precise enough to be very constraining. The emergence of the Planck cluster sample will for the first time make these tests competitive.
Portuguese Node: CAUP
Co-PI: Carlos Martins
French Node: Laboratoire de l'Accelerateur Lineaire (LAL)
1 January 2012
31 December 2013
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia