The 2,403rd Meeting of the Society

February 8, 2019 at 8:00 PM

Powell Auditorium at the Cosmos Club

Differentiation of the Embryonic Universe

Interpreting the Cosmological Fossil Record

Raman Sundrum

Director, Maryland Center for Fundamental Physics
John S. Toll Chair and Distinguished University Professor of Physics
University of Maryland

Sponsored by PSW Member Frank Robert


About the Lecture

Measurements of the “fossil” light known as the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) have provided a spectacular snapshot of the very early Universe, reflecting the small non-uniformities that seeded the galaxies.  This lecture will review the theoretical mechanism of Cosmic Inflation, in which Quantum Mechanics and Relativity combined at the Big Bang to create the CMB’s fractal-like pattern across the sky.  The lecture will describe how future precision measurements of the CMB, as well as new cosmic maps observable in electromagnetic and gravitational waves, may provide deeper insights into critical early stages of the unfolding of the Universe, including the birth of the modern forces of Nature from their primeval, possibly higher-dimensional, ancestors.

About the Speaker

Raman Sundrum is the John S. Toll Chair and Distinguished University Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, College Park.  He also is the Director of the Maryland Center for Fundamental Physics (MCFP).  Previously, he was the Alumni Centennial Chair in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Johns Hopkins University. 

Raman works on theoretical particle physics, primarily the structure of the fundamental forces of Nature and their connections to possible extensions of Relativistic Spacetime, such as Supersymmetry and Extra Dimensions.  He also studies their possible roles in the very early Universe.  His focus is on uncovering new mechanisms at the intersection of Quantum Mechanics and Relativity.  His research provides theoretical templates for a broad range of experiments, from searches for new particles at the CERN Laboratory’s Large Hadron Collider to precision cosmological measurements. 

Raman is an author on over 70 scientific papers.  He also frequently consults for the science media and presents his work widely to the public, form speaking at high schools to appearing on BBC Television’s Horizon Special “Inside CERN.” 

Among other honors and awards, Raman is a Fellow of the American Physical Society as well as the American Association for the Advancement of Science,  the recipient of the Department of Energy’s Junior Investigator Award, was Distinguished Visiting Chair at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo Canada, and was a Moore Fellow at CalTech.   He also has been awarded the 2019 Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics of the American Physical Society along with his former collaborator, Lisa Randall of Harvard University, for their pioneering of what are now known as the “Randall-Sundrum” theoretical models of higher-dimensional spacetime, and for motivating a host of experimental searches. 

Raman earned his BSc in Mathematics at the University of Sydney in Australia and his PhD in theoretical particle physics at Yale.  He also did postdoctoral research at Berkeley, Harvard, Boston University, and Stanford.