In the past decade we have been able to determine cosmological parameters with uncertainties smaller than ever before. The availability of many independent observational probes – all pointing in the same direction – suggests that they are also accurate, i.e. not dominated by unknown systematic errors. Remarkably, this wealth of observational data can be explained by a relatively simple cosmological model dominated by dark matter and dark energy and governed by general relativity.
However, many profound questions remain unanswered, including:
- What is the nature of dark energy ?
- What is the nature of dark matter ?
- Is general relativity the correct theory of gravity on the scales of the Universe ?
In the near future, as the precision of independent cosmological probes increases further (for example with the upcoming release of the Planck satellite cosmological results), it will be possible to answer this kind of questions. Alternatively, and more radically, it is also possible that by comparing and combining independent probes of increasing precision and accuracy some fundamental inconsistency in the standard cosmological model will be revealed, leading to the discovery of new physics.
The purpose of the workshop is to bring together in a friendly atmosphere observers and theorists in order to understand the strengths, weaknesses, and complementarity of different cosmological probes, and how best to combine the information and inform models. Pedagogic reviews will introduce each topic, and ample time for discussion will be available during talks and between sessions, and through panel discussions. There will be opportunities for contributed talks and posters. Attendance will be limited to 90 people maximum, on a “first come, first served” basis.