Jan. 8, 2004
Vol. 23 No. 7

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    Hu will study cosmological theories with Packard grant

    By Steve Koppes
    News Office

    Wayne Hu, Associate Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics, is among 16 researchers nationally to receive a 2003 Packard Foundation Fellowship for Science and Engineering. Hu will receive an unrestricted research grant of $625,000 over five years as a Packard Fellow.

    He will use the grant to continue his research in cosmological theory. Hu focuses his research on how structures in the universe, such as galaxies and clusters of galaxies, were seeded at the big bang and how they relate to dark matter and dark energy, which are mysterious phenomena that seem to pervade space.

    To answer these questions, Hu examines data collected from the CMB (cosmic microwave background) radiation, the afterglow of the big bang. In recent years, CMB experiments have revealed sound waves in the slight temperature differences that spread across the sky as the universe expanded and cooled after the big bang.

    Hu also uses the weak “gravitational lensing” of faint galaxies to study the physics of dark energy at large scales. The effect arises from the deflection of light by dark matter, which distorts the images of galaxies.

    The Packard Fellowship Program was established in 1988 and arose out of David Packard’s commitment to strengthening university-based science and engineering programs. By supporting unusually creative researchers early in their careers, the foundation works toward its goal to help develop scientific leaders, further the work of promising young scientists and engineers, and support efforts to attract talented graduate students into university research in the United States.