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Precision Cosmology with Weak Gravitational Lensing

Hearin, Andrew (2012) Precision Cosmology with Weak Gravitational Lensing. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In recent years, cosmological science has developed a highly predictive model for the universe on large scales that is in quantitative agreement with a wide range of astronomical observations. While the number and diversity of successes of this model provide great confidence that our general picture of cosmology is correct, numerous puzzles remain. In this dissertation, I analyze the potential of planned and near future galaxy surveys to provide new understanding of several unanswered questions in cosmology, and address some of the leading challenges to this observational program. In particular, I study an emerging technique called cosmic shear, the weak gravitational lensing produced by large scale structure. I focus on developing strategies to optimally use the cosmic shear signal observed in galaxy imaging surveys to uncover the physics of dark energy and the early universe.

In chapter 1 I give an overview of a few unsolved mysteries in cosmology and I motivate weak lensing as a cosmological probe. I discuss the use of weak lensing as a test of general relativity in chapter 2 and assess the threat to such tests presented by our uncertainty in the physics of galaxy formation. Interpreting the cosmic shear signal requires knowledge of the redshift distribution of the lensed galaxies. This redshift distribution will be significantly uncertain since it must be determined photometrically. In chapter 3 I investigate the influence of photometric redshift errors on our ability to constrain dark energy models with weak lensing. The ability to study dark energy with cosmic shear is also limited by the imprecision in our understanding of the physics of gravitational collapse. In chapter 4 I present the stringent calibration requirements on this source of uncertainty. I study the potential of weak lensing to resolve a debate over a long-standing anomaly in CMB measurements in chapter 5. Finally, in chapter 6 I summarize my findings and conclude with a brief discussion of my outlook on the future of weak lensing studies of cosmology.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairZentner, Andrewzentner@pitt.eduZENTNER
Committee MemberNewman, Jeffreyjanewman@pitt.eduJANEWMAN
Committee MemberWood-Vasey, Michaelwmwv@pitt.eduWMWV
Committee MemberPaolone,
Committee MemberCroft,
Date: 26 September 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 18 July 2012
Approval Date: 26 September 2012
Submission Date: 11 July 2012
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 182
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Physics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: cosmology
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2012 02:01
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:00

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