Tickets to the gun show: B-mode cosmology with BICEP1 and BICEP2
Roger O'Brient



Measurements of B-mode polarization in the Cosmic Microwave Background are opening the door to ultra-high-energy physics between the GUT and Plank scales. The angular spectra of the odd-symmetry patterns detected in the BICEP-2 experiment as well, as the BICEP-1 and Keck Array experiments, suggest that they were likely generated by gravitational waves, amplified from quantum to cosmic scales during the inflationary epoch. This measurement was possible through the use of novel cryogenic sensors developed at JPL that provided an order of magnitude boost in mapping speeds over the prior generation technology. In addition to describing the experiment's design, I will describe how our team formed B-mode maps and spectra while exhaustively checking for systematic errors. We will also discuss our considerations of galactic foreground contamination and why we think this is an unlikely explanation for the result. I will comment on the cosmological interpretation and finally remark on the next steps for both our team and the field at large.