The South Pole Telescope: Status and New Results

Saturday, February 16, 2013
Room 208 (Hynes Convention Center)
John Carlstrom , University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Measurements of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) on large angular scales have revealed a great deal about the fundamental workings of the universe and led to a standard cosmological model. Testing this model, refining its parameters and, most importantly, investigating the new physics it contains, such as Inflation, Dark Matter and Dark Energy, and searching for new phenomena requires measurements of the CMB at higher angular resolution and sensitivity. The 10-meter South Pole Telescope (SPT) was built to conduct such sensitive, high-resolution (1 arc minute) measurements of the CMB.  The SPT has completed a survey of the CMB at unprecedented sensitivity and resolution covering 1/16 of the sky, and is now measuring the polarization of the CMB. In addition to increased precision of the cosmological parameters and tests of Inflation, the SPT data has allowed investigations of extensions to the standard model, such as the number and masses of the neutrinos, and the nature of dark energy. Furthermore, the high resolution of the SPT measurements also allows the direct detection of the emergence and evolution of structure in the universe through the subtle, small-angular scale distortions they impart on the background, such as gravitational lensing from the mass in the universe and the scattering from ionized gas (the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effects).  The SPT has already produced several new results and discoveries, including the discovery of galaxy clusters via the SZ effect, tight limits on the reionization history of the universe, and a new population of galaxies producing stars at a prodigious rate in the young universe. This talk will review the status, the newest results and future prospects of the SPT project.