The Planck results have implications for all of observational cosmology and for the deepest questions in fundamental physics. Two months after the release, observers and theorists are gathering at the University of California, Davis, to try to make sense of it all at the Davis Cosmological Frontiers Conferences.
"Mining the Cosmic Frontier in the Planck Era," runs from May 20-22 and "Fundamental Questions in Cosmology" from May 22-24.
On the observational front, at face value, Planck disagrees with 'cosmic shear' observations from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Lensing Survey (CFHTLS), some observations of distant supernovae, and observations of closer supernovae as well. What are the sources of these disagreements? Are they revealing systematic errors? Or are they a sign of a failure of the standard cosmological model? Perhaps the Universe is trying to tell us something, such as that there are additional species of neutrinos, or that the density of dark energy is actually increasing as the Universe expands.
Observers coming to the meeting include the head of the Planck project in the U.S., Charles Lawrence, many other Planck Scientists and observers from other projects including two recipients of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics: Saul Perlmutter, Berkeley and Adam Riess, Johns Hopkins University.
On the theoretical front, the theorists will be puzzling over why their simplest possible predictions work so amazingly well as a means of explaining the Planck data. To make predictions from a model of inflation a number of assumptions have been made. Why does the Universe actually respect these assumptions? Planck appears to be telling us that they are valid, but why?
Theorists coming to the meeting include Andrei Linde and Leonard Susskind, Stanford University and Paul Steinhardt, Princeton University.
There will also be a public lecture by Sean Carroll (California Institute of Technology) on Wednesday, May 22.