Place: 4421 Sterling Hall, Coffee and cookies 3:30 pm, Talk begins at 3:45 pm
Speaker: Susan Clark, Institute for Advanced Study
Abstract: The interstellar medium (ISM) is multi-phase, turbulent, and magnetic. This makes the ISM an ideal laboratory for studying the multi-scale physics of star formation and galactic evolution. This unfortunately also makes the ISM a formidable foreground for cosmology experiments, such as the search for inflationary gravitational wave B-mode polarization in the cosmic microwave background. I will discuss recent work on magnetic fields in the diffuse ISM, with a particular focus on insights from high-dynamic range observations of neutral hydrogen and polarized dust emission. Novel tools for quantifying the morphology of interstellar material are enabling new probes of the ambient magnetic field structure, and thus a better characterization of polarized cosmological foregrounds. The hunt for primordial signals is now inextricably linked to our understanding of the magnetic ISM.