Together with collaborators, research associates, graduate and undergraduate students I am engaged in a number of very exciting projects closely connected with current or future data. These include:
– Searching for evidence of non-trivial (i.e. interesting) topology of the universe in microwave background data: We have published the most stringent limit on the smallest loop around the universe — greater than about 85 Billion light years. We continue to search for topology near or just over the horizon.
– Determining how best to search for differences between General Relativity and modified theories of gravity that try to explain the accelerating expansion of the universe or the rotation of galaxies: We have shown how modified theories of gravity will change the orbits of planets and moons in the solar system (aka Lue-Starkman precession) We have shown how large scale structure grows at a modified rate in modified gravity. We have shown that the mass as determined by motions of particles (e.g. rotation of galaxies) and the mass as determined by bending of light will differ.
– Investigating the large scale correlations of the universe: Using data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) we have demonstrated that on large scales the microwave background is not (statistically) isotropic but rather is correlated within itself and to solar system geometry.
It is always the unexpected ideas that crop up in conversation with students and postdocs that turn into the most interesting lines of investigation, so who knows what other things we will be investigating in the years to come.