Erik M. Leitch
Senior Technical Staff
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Dr.
Pasadena CA 91109
Office phone: (818) 393-2308
California Institute of Technology
Dept. of Astronomy & Astrophysics, MS 105-24
1200 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena CA 91125
Office phone: (626) 395-5927
The study of cosmology and the formation of structure in the
high-redshift universe comprise my chief research interests. My work
has focused on observations of the cosmic microwave background
(CMB), the faint afterglow of the Big Bang. These observations have
the potential to reveal the composition and dynamics of the universe,
and serve as a direct test of its inflationary origins.
In recent years, this work has led to the detection of harmonic peak
structure in the CMB power spectrum — a fundamental prediction
of the inflationary paradigm — and most recently to the
detection of CMB polarization, whose presence is a model-independent
prediction of plasma physics at decoupling, and therefore a
vindication of the theoretical framework underlying the inference of
cosmological information from the CMB.
In addition to studies of the intrinsic properties of the CMB, my work
centers on experiments to detect galaxy clusters through the
Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect (SZE). These observations will
constrain the physics of dark energy with cluster abundances
determined from blind surveys of the SZE, as well as probe the
detailed physics of galaxy clusters.