Research Fellows Directory
Dr Adam Moss
University of Nottingham
Cosmology has become one of the most exciting fields of scientific research. Conditions in the hot, dense, early Universe were quite similar to those in our Sun. The Sun consists primarily of hydrogen gas, and is so hot the electrons are stripped away. Light, which comes in packets of energy called photons, travels at around 300,000 km per second. However, a single photon created in the center of the Sun takes an incredible 170,000 years before it escapes from the surface! The reason is photons are continually scattering off the ionized electrons. The early Universe was similar - photons couldn’t travel very far before encountering an electron. However, the Universe was also expanding and cooling, and when the temperature was low enough electrons could recombine with hydrogen ions, after which photons could travel unimpeded. This process happened when the Universe was about 400,000 years old. It is a snap shot of conditions in the early Universe, and is called the Cosmic Microwave Background, or CMB. My research is focused on extracting information from the CMB. I work on a European Space Agency satellite experiment called Planck, which has mapped the CMB to unprecedented accuracy. Results from Planck have told us how much matter there is in the Universe, and has shown that two mysterious quantities called dark matter and dark energy are needed. Identifying the nature of dark energy and dark matter are some of the most important questions in science today.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)