From the Director
Cosmology is an extremely exciting, interdisciplinary field. Astronomical observations have revealed the presence of dark matter and dark energy, presenting serious challenges to fundamental physics. The leading theories of fundamental physics involve energies so high that the early Universe provides the only realistic particle accelerator to test them. For example, Cosmic Inflation, predicted by theoretical physics, has been tested and refined by astronomical and cosmological observations. Without a doubt, close collaborations between theory and observations, as well as rapid advances in both of them, have been the main driver for the remarkable progress in cosmology over the last decade, and continue to be so.
The Texas Cosmology Center (TCC) provides a focal point for interdisciplinary efforts between the Departments of Astronomy and Physics at the University of Texas at Austin. The Center draws on the substantial expertise of existing faculty in the Physics and Astronomy Departments. From Physics, Duane Dicus, Jacques Distler, Willy Fischler, Vadim Kaplunovsky, Richard Matzner, Sonia Paban, Steve Weinberg, and a new faculty member provide expertise on fundamental physics. From Astronomy, Volker Bromm, Karl Gebhardt, Gary Hill, Eiichiro Komatsu, Milos Milosavljevic, Mike Montgomery, Paul Shapiro and Don Winget provide expertise in cosmological theory and observational tests. The Center provides support for the Center Fellows, postdoctoral research fellows supported by the Center, and graduate students working with the members of the Center, as well as for various activities including international conferences and visitor programs.
The scientific work of the Center focuses on 4 central questions.
What is the nature of dark energy?
What is the nature of dark matter?
What is the origin of inflation?
How did the structure of the Universe emerge and evolve?
The Center personnel meet several times a week for journal clubs, lunches, and discussion of results. The opportunities for collaboration are rich because the physics personnel are very strong in fundamental theory of dark matter, dark energy, inflation, cosmic strings, and matter creation. The astronomy personnel are knowledgeable about the effects of theory on the observable Universe, such as Cosmic Microwave Background, HETDEX, dark matter profiles in dwarf galaxies, fluctuations seen in the 21-cm line, first stars and supernovae, etc. The Center also connects to other cosmology initiatives at Texas A&M, UT-Dallas, etc., greatly enhancing the visibility of Texas in this extremely exciting field.
The Texas Cosmology Center is established to help interdisciplinary collaborations on the cosmological research which, hopefully, leads to solutions to the exciting questions in modern cosmology and fundamental physics!
Eiichiro Komatsu, Director