Speaker: Daniel C. Jacobs, NSF Fellow, Arizona State University
Abstract: The Epoch of Reionization (EoR) marks when the first stars ionized primordial hydrogen half a billion years after the big bang. Direct observation of cosmological hydrogen is possible via the 21cm line and is now being hotly pursued as a new cosmological probe. I am a major contributor to new large-scale radio arrays including the Precision Array for Probing the Epoch of Reionization (PAPER), the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) and the upcoming Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA). PAPER currently holds the deepest limits on the epoch of reionization power spectrum, while the MWA is making major advancements in understanding foregrounds at a level necessary for imaging large scale structure. My group specializes in commissioning, operating and delivering results with these new types of arrays. Current projects include digital modeling of instrumental response, developing high level heuristics for data flagging, accelerating imaging pipelines, pushing more analysis steps into real-time systems, and in-situ calibration with external drone-mounted transmitters. Lessons learned and systems developed for PAPER and the MWA are being incorporated into the design and operations model of the next generation HERA, which will yield 20 times the sensitivity of first generation arrays and on into the regime of the upcoming Square Kilometer Array.