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CosmoVerse seminars

CosmoVerse seminars

CosmoVerse holds regular seminars on the cosmological tensions, focusing on both new measurements and proposed solutions.

CosmoVerse Seminars

Florian Niedermann
Wednesday - December 6, 2023 @ 10:30am CET
Title: Addressing Cosmic Tensions with a New Phase Transition in the Early Universe

Differing measurements of the expansion rate of the Universe have given rise to an observational dilemma in cosmology commonly referred to as the Hubble tension. A possible solution is provided by the model of New Early Dark Energy. Here, a scalar field’s false vacuum energy plays the role of an early dark energy component that leads to a short repulsive boost close to matter-radiation equality before it decays through a fast, triggered first-order phase transition. I will outline a particular microphysical implementation, highlight the importance of a trigger mechanism, and discuss the model’s phenomenology. Finally, I will report on recent results and show how the same physics can address another observational challenge relating to the large-scale structure of the Universe.

Sunny Vagnozzi
Thursday - January 11, 2024 @ 5:00pm CET
Stefano Anselmi
INFN, Sezione di Padova, Italy
Wednesday - January 24, 2024 @ 10:30am CET
Title: Can we use Baryon Acoustic Oscillations distances?

Baryon Acoustic Oscillations are considered one of the most powerful cosmological probes. They are assumed to provide distance measures independent of a specific cosmological model. At the same time the obtained distances are considered agnostic with respect to other cosmological observations. However, in current measurements, the inference is done assuming parameter values of a fiducial LCDM model and employing prescriptions tested to be unbiased only within some LCDM fiducial cosmologies. Moreover the procedure is plagued by the ambiguity of choosing a specific correlation function model-template to measure cosmological distances.
Does this comply with the requirement of model and parameter independent distances useful, for instance, to characterize cosmological tensions?
In this talk I will review the subject, answer compelling questions and explore new promising research directions.

Joan Solà Peracaula
Wednesday - February 21, 2024 @ 10:30am CET
Tommaso Treu
Thursday - February 29, 2024 @ 5:00pm CET
Tamara Davis
Wednesday - March 13, 2024 @ 10:30am CET
Title: Supernova cosmology with the complete Dark Energy Survey

I will present the results from the supernova cosmology key paper with the completed Dark Energy Survey.  [Some details to be added when paper is released!]  In addition to the standard cosmological analyses I will explore the deeper implications into the nature of dark energy, testing non-standard cosmological models, and measuring cool effects like cosmological time dilation.  I’ll also show to what extent our published Hubble diagram is cosmological model independent, and how to use the data to test your own favourite cosmological model.

Wendy Freedman
Thursday - March 28, 2024 @ 5:00pm CET

Past Seminars

Adam Riess
Johns Hopkins University, USA
Wednesday - November 22, 2023 @ 5:00pm CET
Title: Thanks (giving) for JWST

A couple of days before the US holiday, Thanksgiving, I will give thanks for the new James Webb Space Telescope and share some early results from it. Specifically I will focus on the increased resolution and sensitivity of JWST in the context of local distance measurements in the hosts of 7 SN Ia and direct comparisons between past results from the Hubble Space Telescope and JWST. We find that systematic errors in HST Cepheid photometry do not play a significant role in the decade-long Hubble Tension, leaving us without a source of error to explain its presence.

Alice Pisani
CCA Flatiron Institute/Cooper Union/Princeton University
Thursday - November 16, 2023 @ 5:00pm CET
Title: Unraveling cosmology with cosmic voids

Modern surveys provide access to high-quality measurements on large areas of the sky, sampling the galaxy distribution in detail also in the emptiest regions, voids. Void cosmology is becoming an increasingly active sector of galaxy clustering analysis: by measuring void properties, such as density profiles or void number counts, it is possible to constrain cosmological parameters. Cosmic voids are particularly sensitive to the properties of dark energy and neutrinos, and are a powerful tool to test modifications of the laws of general relativity. Studying voids provides a novel perspective to unravel the unsolved mysteries of our Universe.
In this talk I introduce cosmic voids as a tool for cosmology, I present recent results, and discuss the perspective of voids on the rising cosmology tensions. I also discuss current challenges and future developments in the field.

Paolo Salucci
SISSA, Italy
Wednesday - November 8, 2023 @ 10:30am CET
Title: Understanding the Nature of the Dark Matter: a new Paradigm for new Scenarios.

Although most of cosmologists believe that we live in a Λ𝐶𝐷𝑀 Universe, the phenomenon of the Dark Matter continues to baffle the researchers: the underlying dark particle has escaped, so far, the detection and its astrophysical role appears to be very complex and entangled with that of the standard luminous particles. As an example, in disc systems, there is a number of well known scaling laws, connecting among them the structural properties of the dark and the luminous matter, that are too complex to be arisen in a scenario in which these two mass components do not “talk” to each other but just share the same gravitational field. We propose that, in order to proceed efficiently, alongside with abandoning the current Λ𝐶𝐷𝑀 scenario, we need also to shift the Paradigm from which such scenario has emerged.
Then, we advocate for a Paradigm, according to which, we are poised to search for DM scenarios without requiring that: (a) they naturally come from (known) “first principles” (b) they obey to the Occam razor idea (c) they have the bonus to lead us towards the solution of presently open big issues of fundamental Physics. On the other side, the proper search shall: (i) give precedence to observations and to the experimental results, wherever these may lead us (ii) consider the possibility that the Physics behind the Dark Matter phenomenon be disconnected from the Physics we know and and that, furthermore, iii) the actual scenario does not comply with the usual canons of beauty.
An immediate application of this paradigm leads us to a Scenario featuring a direct interaction between Dark and Standard Model particles that has finely shaped the inner regions of galaxies.

Richard Anderson
Thursday - October 26, 2023 @ 5:00pm CET
Title: Towards a direct 1% measurement of the Hubble constant using standard candles

I will review recent work aimed at measuring the Hubble constant to 1% using the extragalactic distance ladder, with a focus on stellar standard candles. In particular, I will present progress in the understanding of Gaia parallax systematics unraveled by asteroseismology, the most accurate absolute calibration of Cepheids based on Gaia parallaxes of star clusters, and the improvements to Cepheid photometry enabled by the unprecedented near-infrared spatial resolution of the James Webb Space Telescope. In turn, I will present recent improvements to the Tip of the Red Giant Branch calibration in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Asta Heinesen
Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen
Wednesday - October 11, 2023 @ 10:30am CET
Title: Dimming of light in general relativity: On the possible emergence of apparent dark energy effects

Can modern cosmological observations be reconciled with a general-relativistic Universe without an anti-gravitating energy source? Usually, the answer to this question by cosmologists is in the negative, and it is commonly believed that the observed excess dimming of light from supernovae relative to the predictions of the Milne model is evidence for dark energy. In this talk I will illustrate why this intuition does not generally hold once the symmetries of the Friedman-Lemaitre-Robertson-Walker metric are broken. This opens up an avenue of research into general-relativistic space-time solutions without dark energy that may be competitive cosmological models. I will discuss the geometrical constraints that such space-times must necessarily satisfy in order to conform with cosmological observations.

Agnès Ferté
Thursday - September 28, 2023 @ 5:00pm CET
Title: Weak Lensing Cosmology and Tests of Gravity: Tensions and Prospects

Weak gravitational lensing is a powerful probe of the matter distribution in the recent Universe and thus a key probe for dark energy and gravity. I will give a status of weak lensing cosmology in ΛCDM and tests of gravity, putting the results we obtained in arxiv:2207.05766 into perspective and highlighting the current slight tensions in S8 and ∑0 with the Cosmic Microwave Background. I will then discuss ongoing progress and outlooks to complete our understanding of such tensions in the experimental landscape of the coming decade. Finally, I will show how the method we proposed in arxiv:2110.13171 can be used for the purpose of exploring solutions to the S8 tension. I will end by showing a preliminary version of an online page to centralize cosmological results and thus facilitate the visualization of cosmological tensions.

Dan Scolnic
Duke University, USA
Thursday - August 31, 2023 @ 5:00pm CET
Title: Measuring the Hubble Constant using TRGB from the CATS Team

I will present recent results from a full re-analysis of TRGB measurements in the first and second rung of the distance ladder.  I will show how the tip brightness varies across fields of the galaxies, and present a 5sigma relation between the tip brightness and the measured contrast ratio.  I will show how this relation can be used to ’standardize’ TRGB measurements, reaching a state-of-the-art dispersion across fields.  I will then talk about how we combine measurements of the TRGB in NGC 4258 with measurements in supernova hosts, and combine this with Pantheon+.  I will discuss how the resulting value is consistent with the SH0ES value of the Hubble constant, and this is partly due to the homogenous treatment of TRGB, as well as the usage of the Pantheon+ supernova catalog.  Finally, I will place this result in the context of other H0 measurements.

Lavinia Heisenberg
Heidelberg University / ETH Zürich
Thursday - July 27, 2023 @ 5:00pm CET
Title: Model-independent solution to the cosmological tensions

I will discuss the model-independent requirements for solving the H_0 and \sigma_8 tensions simultaneously.

Brent Tully
University of Hawaii - 09:00 Hawaii time, 21:00 CET
Thursday - June 29, 2023 @ 9:00pm CET
Title: H0 from the Distance Ladder

Inconsistencies have arisen with theory based values of the Hubble constant, which fundamentally is a relation between galaxy velocities and distances.  Unfortunately, there is no single way of measuring distances over the range accessed by stellar parallaxes and the regime of cosmic expansion unconfused by peculiar motions.  Instead, there is recourse to the distance ladder.  A variety of methodologies can be laced together, each accurate within a limited domain but with substantial overlaps between techniques.   The construction of the ladder has a long and tenuous history but is reaching a fruitful conclusion.

Shahin Sheikh-Jabbari
IPM, Tehran
Thursday - June 8, 2023 @ 5:00pm CET
Title: Dipole LCDM model: Towards a realistic model building in dipole cosmology

Dipole cosmology is the maximally Copernican generalization of the FLRW paradigm that can incorporate bulk flows in the cosmic fluid. In this paper, we first discuss how multiple fluid components with independent flows can be realized in this set up. This is the necessary step to promote “tilted” Bianchi cosmologies to a viable framework for cosmological model building involving fluid mixtures (as in FLRW). We present a dipole \lcdm\ model which has radiation and matter with independent flows, with (or without) a positive cosmological constant. A remarkable feature of models containing radiation (including dipole $\Lambda$CDM) is that the relative flow between radiation and matter can increase at late times, which can contribute to eg., the CMB dipole. This can happen generically in the space of initial conditions. We discuss the significance of this observation for late time cosmic tensions.

David Benisty
University of Cambridge, UK
Wednesday - May 24, 2023 @ 10:30am CET
Title: Dark Energy (and modified gravity) in two body problem: theoretical implications and observational constraints

General Theory of Relativity needs at least one modification – the Cosmological Constant. Yet there are possibilities for other modified theories of gravity to explain the accelerated expansion. In this talk I’m going to discuss the impact of Modified Gravity on the two-body problem. In particular, with the latest observational constraints from the galactic center and the S-stars, binary pulsars and the Milky and Andromeda dynamics.

Mikhail Ivanov
Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
Monday - May 15, 2023 @ 5:00pm CET
Title: Exploring Cosmological Tensions with Spectroscopic Galaxy Surveys

The distribution of galaxies on large scales is a sensitive probe of fundamental physics. In particular, the structure of this distribution depends on properties of dark matter and the dynamics of the early universe. Understanding this dependence, however, is a challenging task because the observed galaxy distribution is modulated by a variety of non-linear effects. I will present new theoretical tools that have allowed for a systematic analytic description of these effects. These tools play a central role in a new program of extracting cosmological information from large scale galaxy surveys. I will share some results of this program from several independent analyses of the public data from the Baryon acoustic Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey. These results include new measurements of the Hubble constant, the growth of structure, and constrains on dark matter models. I will discuss these results with a particular emphasis on the H0 and S8 tensions.

Eoin O Colgain
Atlantic Technological University, Sligo, Ireland
Wednesday - April 26, 2023 @ 10:30am CET
Title: Is H0 a constant in Lambda-CDM cosmology?

What happens when cosmological models break down? I will argue that the cosmological parameters, which are integration constants from the perspective of mathematics, pick up redshift dependence. This marks a fundamental clash between mathematics and observation, a conflict which forces one to either work with a unpredictive model or simply throw it away. I will provide evidence for this evolution in the Lambda-CDM model in the late Universe, the simplest setting to look for evolution. Evolution must be found if cosmological tensions are physical, otherwise one concludes that systematics are at play.

Suhail Dhawan
Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge
Thursday - April 13, 2023 @ 5:00pm CET
Title: Resolving cosmological tensions with Type Ia supernovae

The Hubble tension is arguably the biggest open question in modern cosmology. While it is the most significant signature of new cosmological physics, it is imperative to test whether unknown systematics are at play. In my talk I will summarise our recent work on developing the distance ladder with novel probes like the tip of the red giant branch to use Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) from the Zwicky Transient Facility for measuring the Hubble constant. 

Strong gravitational lensing is an independent channel with which SNe Ia weigh in on the tension. Since lensed SNe measure time delay distances this probe has complete independent systematics to the local distance ladder and hence, is a powerful way to measure H0. I will talk about our recent work with wide-field surveys to discover and characterise lensed SNe. 

An interlinked problem in cosmology today is the test for whether the universe is isotropic. Our recent work shows some indications for potential deviations from isotropy and forecasts suggest the exciting possibility to strongly confirm or refute this claim.

Roy Maartens
University of Western Cape, South Africa
Wednesday - March 29, 2023 @ 10:30am CET
Title: Testing the Cosmological Principle: a new cosmic tension?

The Cosmological Principle – that the Universe is statistically isotropic and homogeneous – leads to a critical consistency test of the standard model of cosmology: the rest-frames of matter and the CMB must coincide. Estimates of the kinematic dipole in radio continuum surveys lead to an agreement in direction with the CMB dipole, but an anomalously large velocity. Recent estimates from the CATWise2020 quasar sample put this velocity tension at > 4 sigma. I highlight a fundamental theoretical systematic: the standard formula for extracting the velocity from the matter dipole is not correct. This may not resolve the tension, but the correct formula needs to be applied before a robust claim can be made.

Thomas de Jaeger
LPNHE - IN2P3 - CNRS - Université Pierre & Marie Curie
Thursday - March 16, 2023 @ 5:00pm CET
Title: Type II supernovae and the H0 tension

The most stringent local measurement of the Hubble constant from Cepheid-calibrated Type Ia supernovae differs from the value inferred via the cosmic microwave background radiation (Planck + LCDM) by more than five sigmas. This so-called “Hubble tension” has been confirmed by other independent methods and thus does not appear to be a possible consequence of systematic errors. In this talk, I will describe an independent approach to test the second and third rungs of the distance-ladder method using Type II supernovae. Finally, I will also present a method that does not require any external calibration and can be used to directly measure H0.

Licia Verde
University of Barcelona, Spain
Wednesday - March 1, 2023 @ 9:30am CET
Title: How many h are there and what do they mean?

The current expansion rate of the Universe is captured by the so-called Hubble constant, or its dimensionless equivalent, “little h”, which is a key parameter in the, extremely successful, standard model of cosmology. 

The Hubble constant  relates measurements of the expansion history of the Universe to its components, and “little h” appears in all astrophysical quantities which measurement or calibration somewhat  depend on the background cosmology. 

There are many different ways to constrain H_0 or little h and they are fully equivalent only  within a model. I will recap different approaches to measure h and discuss what they mean  in both a model-dependent and model-independent way.

Mike Boylan-Kolchin
The University of Texas at Austin, USA
Thursday - February 16, 2023 @ 4:00pm CET
Title: Cosmological Tensions in the JWST Era

In its most basic form, the highly successful ΛCDM cosmology can be encapsulated in six parameters. Once these parameters are specified, so too is a wide variety of phenomena, from fluctuations in the microwave background to the growth of structure to the evolution of the expansion rate of the Universe. While the model is in good agreement with the vast majority of observations, I will discuss two ΛCDM predictions that may be in tension with data: the properties of the earliest galaxy candidates that have been revealed with JWST and the current expansion rate of the Universe (the Hubble constant). The resolution of each of these discrepancies is currently unclear, and I will discuss the prospects for making progress on each separately. I will also speculate about the intriguing possibility of a common solution for these issues and how this might be tested in the near future, including the use of precision stellar age measurements in the local Universe.

Marika Asgari
Hull University, UK
Wednesday - February 1, 2023 @ 12:00am CET
Title: KiDS Cosmology: An early look at the legacy analysis

Probes of the large scale structures can give us the much needed insight into the nature of the dark Universe. KiDS is a purpose-built gravitational lensing survey with high quality images and a wide photometric coverage, resulting in very high fidelity data. Combining weak lensing data with other probes of the large scale structures, such as galaxy clustering, enables us to break degeneracies in cosmological parameters and control the systematics in the data. In this talk I will review KiDS results and its combinations with other surveys and discuss the prospects for the KiDS final data release and what we can expect to see.

Patricia Diego Palazuelos
Instituto de Física de Cantabria, Santander, Spain
Saturday - January 21, 2023 @ 1:00pm CET
Title: Cosmic birefringence: searching for parity-violating physics with the polarisation of the CMB

A violation of parity symmetry in electromagnetism would rotate the polarisation of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) in an effect known as cosmic birefringence. In the past, attempts to measure isotropic cosmic birefringence have been limited by the uncertainty in the calibration of the instrument’s polarisation angle. In this talk I will present the novel methodology that allowed us to bypass that limitation by using Galactic foreground emission as our calibrator. Its application to WMAP and Planck data yields a birefringence angle of β≈0.3º, with a statistical significance of 3σ. This measurement could be explained by a Chern-Simons coupling between photons and a pseudoscalar field like those predicted by ultra-light axionlike particles or Early Dark Energy. High-precision measurements of the CMB polarisation will allow us to distinguish between these two effects, potentially shedding more light on the Hubble tension.

Vivian Poulin
University of Montpellier, France
Wednesday - January 4, 2023 @ 1:00pm CET
Title: The Sigma-8 Tension is a Drag

Measurements of weak gravitational lensing at low redshifts (z≲0.5−1), quantified by the parameter S_8, favor weaker matter clustering than that expected from the standard ΛCDM cosmological model with parameters determined by cosmic microwave background (CMB) measurements. However, the amplitude of matter clustering at higher redshifts, as probed by lensing of the CMB, is consistent with ΛCDM. This apparent paradox suggests a connection between the S_8 tension and the transition from matter to dark-energy domination. In this talk, I will show that the tension can be resolved by introducing a friction between dark matter and dark energy without altering the tightly constrained expansion history. The low-S_8 measurements favor (at ≳3σ, in this one parameter model) a non-zero drag leading to a suppression of low-redshift power right around the transition from matter to dark-energy domination.

Dillon Brout
Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian, USA
Thursday - December 15, 2022 @ 1:00pm CET
Title: Recent results from Pantheon+ and SH0ES, mapping 10 billion years of cosmic history with Type Ia Supernovae

Type Ia supernovae are a central pillar of cosmology that is vital to the adoption of the LambdaCDM “Standard Model of cosmology”. However, they may also elucidate potential gaps in the theory. I will present recent results of the distance ladder constructed from SH0ES observations of Cepheids in combination with the sample of 1550 Pantheon+ supernovae. Ruthless attention paid to systematic uncertainties and recent leaps in progress of SNIa analyses have culminated in a 1km/s/Mpc constraint of the value of the Hubble constant, which has now crossed the significant 5 sigma threshold of discrepancy when compared to that of Planck+LambdaCDM.

Agne Semenaite
Max Planck Institute, Germany
Wednesday - December 7, 2022 @ 5:00pm CET
Title: Assessing consistency in physical parameter space with the full shape of anisotropic clustering measurements

In this talk I will discuss the results of the full shape analysis of two-point clustering measurements from BOSS galaxy sample combined with the quasar sample from eBOSS, analysed using an updated recipe for the non-linear matter power spectrum and the non-local bias parameters. I will focus on the cosmological parameters that are not defined through Hubble parameter, h, and highlight how this parameter space not only allows us to appropriately and accurately compare constraints from different probes when assessing consistency, but also enables tight constraints in the extended cosmologies with free dark energy equation of state parameter w. I will present the resulting constraints in LCDM cosmologies, as well as a number of extended models where w is allowed to vary freely and show how clustering can be complimented by external probes, namely, CMB (Planck) and weak lensing (3x2pt measurements from DES Y1).

Dhiraj Hazra
Institute of Mathematical Sciences, India
Thursday - November 24, 2022 @ 12:00am CET
Title: One spectrum to cure them all

Acoustic peaks in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) temperature spectrum as observed by the Planck satellite appear to be smoother than our expectation from the standard model lensing effect. This anomalous effect can be also mimicked by a spatially closed Universe with a very low value of Hubble constant that consequently aggravates the already existing discordance between cosmological observations. I will talk about a signature from the early Universe, a particular form of oscillation in the primordial spectrum of quantum fluctuations with a characteristic frequency, that solves all these anomalies. Interestingly, this form of the primordial spectrum resolves or substantially subsides, various tensions in the standard model of cosmology in fitting different observations, namely Planck CMB, clustering and weak lensing shear measurements from several large scale structure surveys, local measurements of Hubble constant, and recently estimated age of the Universe from globular clusters. I will also talk about how to generate this signature from inflation.

Krishna Naidoo
Center for Theoretical Physics at the Polish Academy of Sciences
Wednesday - November 9, 2022 @ 12:00am CET
Title: A dark matter solution to the cosmic tensions and the ISW-void anomaly

I will discuss the role that dark matter may play in relieving tensions in cosmology and how this effect can (and may already) be measured from the Integrated Sachs-Wolfe effect from cosmic voids. I consider a phenomenological model of dark matter with an equation-of-state that is negative and changing at late times, a model degenerate with interacting dark matter — dark energy models. I show this couples the H0 and σ8 tensions, providing an explanation for both simultaneously, while also providing an explanation for the anomalously large integrated Sachs-Wolfe (ISW) effect from cosmic voids. Observations of high ISW from cosmic voids may therefore be evidence that dark matter plays a significant role in the H0 and σ8 tensions. I predict the ISW from cosmic voids to be a factor of ~ 2 greater in this model than what is expected from the standard model ΛCDM. I will also discuss the general prospects for new-physics in cosmology and emphasise the need for new-physics solutions to tensions to be tested and validated with other anomalies and unique predictions/consequences.