Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) as seen by Planck; Source: European Space Agency

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Planck Team Awarded 2018 Gruber Prize in Cosmology

May 17, 2018
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SFU Physics' Andrei Frolov received exciting news last week when the 2018 Gruber Prize in Cosmology was awarded to the Planck Team for their achievements in mapping the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) of the universe. Frolov, an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at SFU is a member of the collaboration.

Using a satellite known as the ESA Planck Spacecraft, the team was able to measure the temperature and polarization of Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, observable relic radiation remaining from the Big Bang. The results of the study produced an unprecedented level of detail in understanding the universe's 13.8-billion-year history.

While Frolov has been a member of the Planck Team since 2013, he notes that the initial proposals for the large collaboration were developed 25 years ago. His contributions to the project were related to the reconstruction of inflationary history, analysis of isotropy and statistics of the primordial cosmological fluctuations, characterization of the interstellar dust polarization, and delivery of some data products for the collaboration.

"I am proud to work with the many people who have worked hard on many fronts and for many years to make Planck mission a success," comments Frolov. He notes that he was one of several Canadian faculty members who are being recognized for their contributions to the international collaboration, which includes, or has included, researchers from the University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the University of Toronto.

The collaboration’s principal investigators, Nazzareno Mandolesi and Jean-Loup Puget, will be presented with a gold medal when the Prize is awarded to the team at the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union, in Vienna, Austria on August 20th.

The citation accompanying the award recognizes that “Planck measured, with unprecedented precision, the matter content and geometry of the universe, the imprint on the CMB of hot gas in galaxy clusters and of gravitational lensing by large-scale structure, constrained a hypothetical `inflationary' phase, pinned down when the first stars formed, and provided unique information about interstellar dust and magnetic fields in our Galaxy.”