Eiichiro Komatsu elected APS Fellow

October 19, 2015
In its September meeting, the American Physical Society (APS) elected MPA director Eiichiro Komatsu as a Fellow. This distinction is recognition of his outstanding contributions to physics, in particular for his work on the analysis of the cosmic microwave background radiation and the physics of the early universe.

The American Physical Society (APS) is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics in the United States and throughout the world. With more than 50,000 members, it is one of the largest organisation of physicists in the world. APS Fellow is a distinct honour, limited to 0.5% of the membership in a given year, signifying recognition by one's professional peers for exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise. Eiichiro Komatsu was recommended by the Division of Astrophysics and nominated by the APS Council of Representatives in its September meeting, for his “pioneering use of the bispectrum to study the physics of the early universe and for playing a leading role in the analysis of WMAP data.”

The WMAP (Wikinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe) spacecraft measured the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation from 2001 to 2010. In particular, it analysed the temperature variations across the sky of this relic radiation from the Big Bang. These tiny density fluctuations were the starting point for all structure that we see in the universe today – but they can also be analysed to learn more about the physics of the very early universe. Processes in the first moments after the Big Bang such as the so-called “inflation” imprinted certain characteristics on this radiation and Eiichiro Komatsu used the mathematical bispectrum method to search for these nonlinear signatures. 

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