Recent discoveries from the cosmic microwave background: A review of recent progress

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Measurements of the anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation have provided a wealth of information about the cosmological model that describes the contents and evolution of the universe. These data have led to a standard model described by just six parameters. In this review we focus on discoveries made in the past decade from satellite and ground-based experiments, and look ahead to those anticipated in the coming decade. We provide an introduction to the key CMB observables including temperature and polarization anisotropies, and describe recent progress towards understanding the initial conditions of structure formation, and establishing the properties of the contents of the universe including neutrinos. Results are now being derived both from the primordial CMB signal that traces the behavior of the universe at 400 000 years of cosmic time, as well as from the signals imprinted at later times due to scattering from galaxy clusters, from the motion of electrons in the ionized universe, and from the gravitational lensing of the CMB photons. We describe current experimental methods to measure the CMB, particularly focusing on details relevant for ground and balloon-based instruments, and give an overview of the broad data analysis methods required to convert measurements of the microwave sky into cosmological parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number044901
JournalReports on Progress in Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 28 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


  • Sunyaev-Zeldovich
  • clusters
  • cosmic microwave background
  • cosmological magnetic fields
  • galactic foregrounds
  • gravitational lensing
  • gravitational waves
  • inflation
  • neutrinos
  • outline
  • reionization


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