New Discoveries in Cosmology and Fundamental Physics through Advances in Laboratory Astrophysics

Brickhouse, Nancy; Cowan, John; Drake, Paul; Federman, Steven; Ferland, Gary; Frank, Adam; Herbst, Eric; Salama, Farid; Savin, Daniel Wolf; Ziurys, Lucy

As the Cosmology and Fundamental Physics (CFP) panel is fully aware, the next decade will see major advances in our understanding of these areas of research. To quote from their charge, these advances will occur in studies of the early universe, the microwave background, the reionization and galaxy formation up to virialization of protogalaxies, large scale structure, the intergalactic medium, the determination of cosmological parameters, dark matter, dark energy, tests of gravity, astronomically determined physical constants, and high energy physics using astronomical messengers. Central to the progress in these areas are the corresponding advances in laboratory astrophysics which are required for fully realizing the CFP scientific opportunities within the decade 2010-2020. Laboratory astrophysics comprises both theoretical and experimental studies of the underlying physics which produce the observed astrophysical processes. The 5 areas of laboratory astrophysics which we have identified as relevant to the CFP panel are atomic, molecular, plasma, nuclear, and particle physics. Here, Section 2 describes some of the new scientific opportunities and compelling scientific themes which will be enabled by advances in laboratory astrophysics. In Section 3, we provide the scientific context for these opportunities. Section 4 briefly discusses some of the experimental and theoretical advances in laboratory astrophysics required to realize the CFP scientific opportunities of the next decade. As requested in the Call for White Papers, Section 5 presents four central questions and one area with unusual discovery potential. Lastly, we give a short postlude in Section 6.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Astrophysics Laboratory
Published Here
May 5, 2017


White paper submitted by the AAS Working Group on Laboratory Astrophysics (WGLA) to the Cosmology and Fundamental Physics (CFP) Science Frontiers Panel (SFP) of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey (Astro2010)