One of the biggest questions on the origin of the universe is whether today’s life-supporting universe relies on a special set of initial conditions at the start of the Big Bang. One way to approach the scientific inquiry of this question is to observe evidence still present in the universe today that dates back to the moments immediately following the Big Bang.
At approximately one second after the Big Bang, according to our current understanding of early universe cosmology, a hot thermal bath of neutrinos was released from the expanding dense matter and radiation that eventually cooled down to make up the universe today. The thermally decoupled neutrinos also cooled with Hubble expansion for over 13.7 billion years and continue to this day to be omnipresent throughout every corner of the universe as one of the oldest known relics of the Big Bang. The activities of this project are targeted to achieve the most important breakthrough steps toward demonstrating that we are at the dawn of a new frontier of neutrino cosmology as put forth by the PTOLEMY research program. PTOLEMY is the only experimental concept that incorporates high resolution measurements at the tritium endpoint with technologies that scale to the sensitivity needed to directly detect relic neutrinos from the Big Bang, also known as the Cosmic Neutrino Background (CNB).
The central concept underpinning the direct detection of relic neutrinos is the operation of a dynamical electromagnetic filter that serves as the telescopic sight for observing neutrino capture events. The PTOLEMY filter will be constructed at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory (LNGS) in Italy and serve as the central foundational component upon which the rest of the experimental apparatus will be developed. The activities of this proposal will be pivotal to realize the first relic neutrino telescope. The relic neutrino detection with PTOLEMY will have a fundamental role in resolving the true description of the physical universe.
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