The Hubble Constant: Relieving the Tension

Dr. Barry F. Madore

Abstract

Twenty years ago, no one convincingly knew the age or the size of the
Universe to within a factor of two. Ten years ago, everyone agreed on
those same two numbers to within 10%. Today, we arguably have brought
the errors down by another factor of two. But that has led to anxiety
rather than euphoria, renewed interest rather than complacency. The
problem is that there are now two independent, competing methods
giving answers of comparable precision and accuracy:
one is a model-based method using the cosmic microwave background
(the CMB), the other is a geometric, parallax-based method using local
measures of distances and expansion velocities. To within about
two-sigma the methods agree.  To within about two-sigma the methods
disagree. And basic physics (a fourth neutrino species, perhaps) hangs
in the balance.

I will discuss how this "tension" arose and how it will soon be
relieved.  A tie-breaker has been identified and developed, and it is
now being worked on from the ground and from space.

About the talk

The Hubble Constant: Relieving the Tension
Dr. Barry F. Madore
Carnegie Observatory
Thursday February 13, 2014
en     en

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