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Title: The microwave background beyond the power spectrum
Author: Hanson, D.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2010
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The minute fluctuations of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) are a cornerstone of modern cosmology. They characterize the small perturbations in the distribution of matter and energy in the early Universe, and have been used with great success to hammer out the details of the current concordance model. We study in detail the analysis of the CMB fluctuations beyond the power spectra, treating statistical anisotropy and non-Gaussianity in a unified framework which is based on quadratic building blocks. We first demonstrate this formalism in application to the data of the WMAP satellite, constraining modulations of the observed and primordial fluctuations with quadratic maximum-likelihood estimators. The power of this approach lies in its speed and ability to test for systematic effects, which we use to resolve a previously unexplained nine sigma anomaly in the WMAP data as a result of contamination from the asymmetric instrumental beams. We then proceed to make a detailed study of the non-Gaussian effects due to gravitational lensing of the CMB by large-scale structure. In particular, we perform a detailed study of non-Gaussian estimators for the lensing potential power spectrum with simulated Planck data, discovering and correcting a number of small biases due to the high signal-to-noise with which lensing will be measured.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available