AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 147. New Perspectives on Cosmological Structure Formation
Invited, Thursday, January 10, 2002, 11:40am-12:30pm, International Ballroom Center

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[147.01] New Perspectives on Cosmological Structure Formation

C.-P. Ma (UC Berkeley)

Modern cosmology is founded on an understanding of how gravity affects the distribution of matter in the universe. The currently accepted paradigm is that gravitational instabilities amplify small ripples imprinted in matter and radiation in the early universe, and these fluctuations eventually evolve into the observed web of cosmic structures. I will review this paradigm. I will also discuss recent development in our understanding of the nonlinear clustering properties of galaxies and dark matter, and the implications for upcoming cosmic microwave background measurements. One example is the strong numerical evidence that hierarchical clustering of dark matter produces virialized halos with a universal density profile. This result has found many applications in cosmological theory and data analysis, but its origin is still not completely understood. I will describe new techniques to follow the phase-space evolution of galaxy host halos and to understand the origin of their density profiles through the stochastic effects of mergers and substructure.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: cpma@astron.berkeley.edu

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