Browse the grids below to find more about each member of the Simons Observatory leadership committees.
The Theory and Analysis Committee (TAC) supervises and coordinates the activities that leads from data products (maps) and simulations to the SO science.
The Technical Committee supervises and coordinates the activities with the goal of informing the decision on SO instrumentation, telescope choice and optimization.
Professor Spergel is Director of the Center for Computational Astrophysics. His research interests range from the search for planets around nearby stars to the shape of the universe. Using microwave background observations from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) and the Atacama Cosmology Telescope, he has measured the age, shape and composition of the universe. Our observations have played a significant role in establishing the standard model of cosmology. In addition to being on the Executive Board of the Simons Observatory, his is currently co-chair of the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) science team. WFIRST will study the nature of dark energy, complete the demographic survey of extrasolar planets, characterize the atmospheres of nearby planets and survey the universe with more than 100 times the field of view of the Hubble Space Telescope. I have played a significant role in designing the coronagraph and in shaping the overall mission.
Brian Keating is a professor of physics at the Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences (CASS) in the Department of Physics at the University of California, San Diego. He is a public speaker, inventor, and an expert in the study of the universe’s oldest light, the cosmic microwave background (CMB), using it to learn about the origin and evolution of the universe. Keating is a pioneer in the search for the earliest physical evidence of the inflationary epoch, the theorized period of expansion of space in the early universe directly after the Big Bang. Keating co-leads two international experiments searching for B-modes. One is called POLARBEAR and the other is an expansion of the POLARBEAR project now underway called the Simons Array. Both are situated in northern Chile.
My research focuses on cosmology and related issues of theoretical physics. I have done extensive work on the theory of the cosmic microwave background radiation and the ways in which it constrains our models of the universe. Current microwave observations, combined with optical observations of the large-scale galaxy distribution, cosmic abundances of light elements, and the supernova-1a Hubble diagram, combine to give tight constraints on the properties of the universe.
Professor of Physics and Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University. Her research is in cosmology, studying the origins and evolution of the Universe. Her major projects are the Atacama Cosmology Telescope and the Simons Observatory. She is also a member of Hyper Suprime-Cam and LSST’s Dark Energy Science Collaboration. Professor Dunkley has been awarded the Maxwell Medal, the Fowler Prize and the Rosalind Franklin award for work on the Cosmic Microwave Background, and shared the Gruber Prize and the Breakthrough Prize with the WMAP team.
Professor McMahon focuses on the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) which is the radiation left over from the Big Bang. With his collaborators he develops, builds, and deploys instruments to measure the CMB and analyze data through to cosmological results. Goals for his work include understanding the primordial Universe (10-34 s after our Universe began), dark energy, the properties of neutrinos, and hunting for surprises.
Professor Niemack’s research focuses on developing new instrumentation to study the formation and evolution of the universe through precision measurements of microwave radiation. The instruments his group works on survey the CMB temperature and polarization in unprecedented detail, enabling a wide range of science objectives, including: new constraints on the physics of inflation, new probes of dark energy and modified gravity, characterization of the dark matter distribution, measurements of the neutrino mass sum, and the discovery of both galaxy clusters and high-redshift galaxies.
Akito Kusaka is a senior scientist in the Physics Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His interest is in observational cosmology, in particular the measurement of cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarization. He was previously a Dicke Fellow in the Department of Physics at the Princeton University, and a KICP fellow at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) and Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago. Akito received his Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo in particle physics, on the measurement of the CP violation in B meson system at Belle experiment.
Kam Arnold is an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of California, San DiegoPhysics Department. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley Physics Department working on the POLARBEAR CMB Polarization Experiment. His research focuses on using the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) to explore cosmology and the fundamental physics of the Universe. This requires developing novel technologies to build mm-wave instrumentation with unprecedented sensitivity. I have collaborated on several publications on these topics. Professor Arnold is currently developing and deploying the Simons Array, an array of three telescopes using more than 20,000 cryogenic bolometers to measure the CMB over three spectral bands to address questions about the universe’s earliest times and its formation of gravitational structure. I also work on developing the technology necessary for the future of CMB and astrophysics research.
Professor Slejak is a theoretical cosmologist by training now focused on how to extract fundamental properties of our universe from cosmological observations. Among the questions we can attempt to answer through observations are: what mechanism seeded the initial structures in the universe? What is the nature of dark energy? What is the future fate of the universe? What is the neutrino mass and number of neutrino families? What is the nature of dark matter? His Current research projects include the topics of Weak lensing, Galaxy clustering, Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) anisotropies, Lyman alpha forest, and cosmological simulations.
Radek Stompor is a cosmologist specializing in the analysis and scientific interpretation of the CMB as well as other cosmological data sets. He is a senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and works at the Astroparticle and Cosmology Laboratory in Paris. For over 20 years of his career he has worked on more than a half a dozen of different CMB experiments, including MAXIMA (1998-2003) and Planck (1995-2014), and on even more CMB data sets. Currently he is a senior investigator on the POLARBEAR and EBEX projects.
Professor Calabrese’s research combines theoretical work with statistical data analysis to answer fundamental questions about the Universe. She leads work on characterising multi-frequency CMB microwave data, on combining data from satellite and ground-based experiments, and on extracting the underlying primordial CMB signal carrying the imprint of the physics of the early Universe, leading to state-of-the-art constraints on neutrino physics, inflation, dark matter and dark energy physics. She is a long-standing science member of the Atacama Cosmology Telescope, a Scientist of the Planck mission, and a full member of the Simons Observatory for which she leads pipeline development for characterizing small-scale data and serve on the Theory and Analysis Committee. She is also a full member of the proposed, Japanese-led LiteBIRD mission for which Ermina also serves as UK National coordinator and European Deputy Spokesperson for LiteBIRD-Europe. Professor Calabrese is a full member of the LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration, and a member of the Euclid Collaboration, looking at how to combine low-redshift data with the CMB.
Matthew Hasselfield joined the Center for Computational Astrophysics as a Data Scientist for the Simons Observatory. He earned his Masters and PhD. in Physics from the University of British Columbia. Prior to joining CCA, he was an Assistant Research Professor at Pennsylvania State University. Matthew will develop algorithms and codes for computational astrophysics, analyze large astronomy data sets, develop his own research programs.
Professor Lee works in the field of observational cosmology. The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is the primary focus of his research testing cosmological models, such as inflation, and estimating values for cosmological parameters, such as the total energy density Ωtot and the baryon density Ωb. In the future, his research will include measurements of polarization anisotropy in the CMB to improve cosmological models and to probe the inflationary era directly. A component of the predicted polarization signal results from gravity waves produced during the inflationary epoch 10-38 seconds after the Big Bang, opening a window on Grand Unified Theory (GUT) energy scales. Professor Lee is also interested in investigations of galaxy clusters via the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect (the scattering of CMB photons by the hot intracluster gas of a cluster) by measuring the spatial distribution of clusters in the universe, as well as the distribution of gas in the clusters.
Suzanne T. Staggs
Professor Staggs is an experimentalist who makes measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation left over from the universal primeval plasma. (As the universe expanded and cooled, the photons eventually decoupled from the baryonic matter when their typical energies were insufficient to ionize hydrogen; at that point the universe became largely neutral and the photons passed through it without scattering.) The current experiments are of two types: measurements of the polarization of the CMB and of the CMB’s very fine-scale features.
Professor Staggs is the PI of the Advanced ACTPol (AdvACT) project. This is the current generation of the Atacama Cosmology Telescope project. Since ACT is a large telescope (6 m diameter), it can make maps of the fine-scale features in the CMB. Her group is intimately involved at all levels of the project, with a particular emphasis on the detector arrays for the camera. Staggs is also a founding member of the Simons Observatory (https://simonsobservatory.org/, SO), which is building a suite of instruments for measuring the CMB from large to small angular scales. Again her group is focused on camera development. For ACT, the new camera included three large arrays of two-color polarimeters based on transition edge sensor (TES) detectors. For SO 49 such polarimeter arrays are being built. Additionally, the Staggs group has done work characterizing so-called multi-moded detectors which are a key component of the design of a satellite proposed by Goddard Space Flight Center, PIXIE, to get even more information out of the CMB with exquisitely sensitive measurements of the frequency dependence of the blackbody spectrum of the CMB.
Lyman Page, along with students and collaborators, measures the spatial temperature variations in the cosmic microwave background (CMB). The CMB, which pervades the universe, is the thermal afterglow of the big bang. Detailed knowledge of the magnitude and pattern of the fluctuations in temperature from spot to spot on the sky, or anisotropy, will help us understand how the universe evolved and how the observed structure, at sizes ranging from galaxies to superclusters of galaxies, was formed. From precise measurements of the CMB, one can also deduce many of the cosmological parameters and the physics of the very early universe. For example we have been able to determine the geometry and age of the universe, the cosmic density of baryons, the cosmic density of dark matter, and the Hubble parameter to percent-level accuracy.
Professor Devlin focuses on experimental cosmology at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths. He collects data to make statistical inferences about the evolutionary history of the Universe. To this end, he designs and builds sophisticated instrumentation and telescopes to observe from high-altitude balloons and the high-plateaus of Chile.
His current projects:
– The Simons Observatory is a major initiative funded by the Simons Foundation. We are building new state-of-the-art telescopes and cameras which we will deploy at our site on Cerro Toco in Northern Chile. I am the current spokesperson for this work and lead the development of the large aperture telescope and camera. For more information see: https://simonsobservatory.org/
– The Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) is an ongoing experiment utilizing a 6 meter diameter telescope located at our site on Cerro Toco in Northern Chile. I am currently the Deputy Director of ACT. For more information see: https://act.princeton.edu/
– The Balloon-borne Large Aperture Telescope (BLAST) is a long running NASA high altitude balloon program. We have studied star formation in high-redshift galaxies as well as star formation in the Milky Way and the effect of polarized dust as a foreground for current and future CMB experiments. I have lead BLAST for the last 17 years. We anticipate our next flight in December of 2018.
– The MUSTANG is a 3 millimeter receiver developed at Penn using microwave-MUX readout of transition edge sensor (TES) detectors developed at NIST. We operate MUSTANG on the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia. Utilizing the 100 meter dish we obtain 9 arcsecond resolution images of the Sunyaev-Zel’dovic effect in galaxy clusters. See http://www.gb.nrao.edu/mustang/