The creation of the first ever infrastructure for the analysis and interpretation of data from different cosmic microwave background (CMB) experiments is the goal of the RELiCS project designed by Martina Gerbino, researcher at the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) and research associate at the University of Ferrara, who has recently been awarded a 2023 European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant.
The 1.5 million euro funding will support research into the properties of neutrinos and other light particles by creating a close synergy between theoretical models and data from several CMB experiments. The CMB is the oldest light that can be detected by any telescope.
In the coming years, increasing amounts of cosmic background radiation data will be available through the new instruments currently under construction, such as the Simons Observatory, in the Atacama Desert, Chile, or the CMB-S4 and LiteBIRD experiments, which will become operational, on the ground and in space respectively, by the end of the 2020s. These projects also aim to shed new light on the particles that populate our universe by testing the properties of those already known, such as neutrinos, but also by trying to reveal other, as yet unknown, light particles that could open up new scenarios in physics. The RELiCS project was designed to best meet this challenge.
“Our group will have to work on a very tight schedule to be able to seize all the opportunities provided by the data that will be collected in the near future,” explained Martina Gerbino, who added: “RELiCS is strongly multidisciplinary and reflects the many challenges to be faced: from an accurate translation of theoretical models into precise predictions to be compared with experimental data, to a thorough understanding of the experimental apparatus and any instrumental effects that might be mistaken for a cosmological signal, up to a detailed statistical analysis to obtain robust information about the mysterious particles we want to understand. Finally, RELiCS will finance the expansion of the local computing infrastructure: the success of the project also depends on having easy and immediate access to advanced computing resources”.