Carnegie Mellon University
September 27, 2019

Suzanne Staggs to Present 2019 Buhl Lecture “Looking Backwards with the Cosmic Microwave Background”

By Jocelyn Duffy

Jocelyn Duffy
  • Associate Dean for Communications, MCS
  • 412-268-9982

Astrophysicist Suzanne Staggs will present Carnegie Mellon University’s annual Buhl Lecture at 3 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 8 in the Mellon Institute Auditorium. Her lecture, “Looking Backwards with the Cosmic Microwave Background,” is free and open to the public.

A relic of the very early universe, the cosmic microwave background (CMB) encodes information about the large-scale dynamics and structure of the early universe, and about the universe’s earliest instances and its likely future. In her lecture, Staggs will discuss the CMB, describe some of the innovative instrumentation being used to study it and discuss the prospects for prying even more knowledge from the CMB.

Staggs, the Henry DeWolf Smyth Professor of Physics at Princeton University, works at the forefront of research on the CMB as the principal investigator of Advanced ACTPol and as a founding member of the Simons Observatory. Her present research focuses on searching for the signature in the CMB polarization data of gravity waves produced in the primordial universe and in using the CMB as a backlight to probe the growth of gravitationally-bound structures over the last 13 billion years.

After earning her Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University in 1993, Staggs was a Hubble Fellow at the University of Chicago and then returned to Princeton as a member of the faculty. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

The Buhl Lecture is funded under the auspices of the Buhl Professorship in Theoretical Physics and sponsored by the Department of Physics. The Buhl Foundation established the professorship in 1961 to support an outstanding theoretical scientist who would both impact theoretical research and help establish directions for experimental investigations. Fred Gilman has held this chair since 1995. He revived the Buhl Lecture in 1996, bringing a series of internationally recognized scientists to Carnegie Mellon for public lectures.