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Title: Cosmological observations as a probe of fundamental physics and astrophysics
Authors: Ferraro, Simone
Advisors: Spergel, David
Contributors: Astrophysical Sciences Department
Subjects: Astrophysics
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The unifying theme of this dissertation is using cosmological observations as a tool to discover new physics and astrophysics. The first part focuses on the effects of primordial non-Gaussianity on the large-scale distribution of dark matter halos. The statistical properties of the primordial fluctuation contain a wealth of information about the Universe's early moments, and these properties are imprinted on the late-time distribution of matter. The first chapter serves as an introduction to the effects of non-Gaussianity on halo bias, summarizing previous work and extending it to the cubic local model (the g_nl model). Chapter 2 generalizes some of the techniques of Chapter 1, allowing for the calculation of halo bias with arbitrary initial conditions, while Chapter 3 shows the relationship between the seemingly different techniques existing in the literature. Detailed forecasts for upcoming surveys are presented in Chapter 4, including the effect of marginalization over shot-noise and Gaussian part of the bias, photometric redshifts uncertainties and multi-tracer analysis to reduce the effect of cosmic variance. The second part contains work on two secondary anisotropies of the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation (CMB), namely the Integrated Sachs-Wolfe (ISW) effect and the kinetic Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (kSZ) effect. The late-time ISW effect arises because of decay of the large-scale gravitational potential due to the accelerated expansion and is therefore a powerful probe of dark energy. Chapter 5 presents a new detection of the ISW effect, using WISE galaxies and AGN as tracers of the gravitational potential, whose bias is measured in cross-correlation with CMB lensing maps. An appendix discusses the contamination of this measurement due to the linear part of the kSZ effect, the Doppler shift of photon energy due to scattering off coherently moving electrons. The last chapter explores the prospects of detecting the kSZ signal from sources for which accurate redshift information is not available (such as the WISE catalog). Forecasts are presented, as well as comparison with simulations and a discussion of the main sources of contamination.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Astrophysical Sciences

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