The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation and the Dog in the Night
“Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
“To the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime.”
“The dog did nothing in the nighttime.”
“That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.
“The Silver Blaze”, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
For all of us. perhaps particularly for those of us whose nation is only one quarter as old as the University of Bologna, it is an honor to help celebrate the 900th anniversary of Alma Mater Studiorum. Floreat!
My task in these proceedings is to review the cosmic microwave background, and I will concentrate primarily on null experiments, particularly upper limits on the spectral distortions and the anisotropics in that radiation.
To emphasize the special nature of such measurements, let me begin with the solution of a well-known case of Sherlock Holmes, a few lines of which are quoted above. The crucial clue in the solution of this mystery was the absence of an event; the dog did not bark. It was in effect a null experiment--the value of the incident lay in what did not happen. Holmes correctly deduced that because the dog did not bark, the intruder must have been its owner.
KeywordsRadio Source Angular Scale Very Large Array Cold Dark Matter Model Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation Temperature
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