Paolo de Bernardis and Andrew Lange

Italy - USA

2006 Balzan Prize for Observational Astronomy and Astrophysics

Research Project 

An Experimental Investigation of the First Stages of the Formation of Cosmic Structures

Paolo de Bernardis is Professor of Astrophysics and Observational Cosmology at the Università di Roma “La Sapienza”. Andrew Lange † was Marvin L. Goldberger Professor of Physics at the California Institute of Technology.

This project, carried out under Professor Paolo de Bernardis, aimed to measure the effect of the first structures on the background CMB light, using an original approach, performing spectroscopic measurements of CMB anisotropy. From the experimental point of view, this strategy required building a differential spectrometer matched to a large aperture telescope to achieve the necessary angular resolution. Several publications resulted from the preparatory phases. The idea was tested experimentally with the flight of the OLIMPO balloon-borne telescope, which had been upgraded with an ambient-temperature differential spectrometer, inserted as a plug-in in the optical path between the telescope and the multi-band photometer, transforming the 4-band photometer in a low-resolution spectrometer.

A full phase-A study of an innovative satellite mission, called SAGACE, was carried out by the group at “La Sapienza” in the framework of the second project, and is described in a long document (ref. KISAG- RP-010), which has been submitted to the Italian Space Agency for evaluation and possible implementation as a national small mission.
Balzan funds were used to acquire hardware to design and complete the instruments, to support the dedicated work of postdoctoral students already trained on the BOOMERanG project, to support the collaboration with the Cardiff (Ade, Mauskopf) and Pasadena (Lange) groups for the development of subsystems, and the diffusion of cosmology results through the preparation of a book on observational cosmology. Three Balzan postdoctoral fellowships at “La Sapienza” focusing on the data analysis of the BOOMERanG and Planck experiments and on the SAGACE study were assigned. This work resulted in a large number of papers. Balzan funds also provided support for: the hardware of the large throughput Martin-Puplett interferometer built in the group (a prototype for the missions described above, and the subject of Alessandro Schillaci’s PhD thesis); the development of innovative mm-wave detectors, the microwave kinetic inductance detectors (paper submitted for publication) and the cold electron bolometers; cooperation with the Caltech group on CMB polarization measurements, with the development of a parallel study carried out in Europe for a space mission devoted to CMB polarization.

Two proposals have been submitted to European Space Agency (ESA), with Paolo de Bernardis serving as the PI and with the collaboration of the US teams in addition to the European ones. His group is also actively studying the impact of systematic effects on the scientific exploitation of these measurements. An even more ambitious mission, PRISM, was studied and proposed to the ESA in 2013 in the framework of the call for science with large missions.

Colafrancesco, S., P. Marchegiani, P. de Bernardis, S. Masi. A multi-frequency study of the SZE in giant radio galaxies. Astronomy and Astrophysics 550, A92 (2013) astro-ph/1211.4809. DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201117376.
The PRISM collaboration (2013), PRISM (Polarized Radiation Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission): A White Paper on the Ultimate Polarimetric Spectro- Imaging of the Microwave and Far-Infrared Sky, astro-ph/ 1306.2259.
Salatino, M., P. de Bernardis, L.S. Kuzmin, S. Masi, S. Mahashabd. Sensitivity to Cosmic Rays of Cold Electron Bolometers for Space Applications. Journal of Low Temperature Physics (2014) 176: 323. 1057-5.
Schillaci, A., E. Battistelli, G. D’ Alessandro, P. de Bernardis, S. Masi. On the Emissivity of wire-grid polarizers for astronomical observations at mm-wavelengths. Infrared Physics & Technology 58, 64–68 (2013).
de Bernardis, P. et al. Low-resolution spectroscopy of the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect and estimates of cluster parameters. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 538, A86 (2012).
de Bernardis, P. et al. SAGACE: the Spectroscopic Active Galaxies and Clusters Explorer, proc. of the 12th Marcel Grossmann Meeting on General Relativity, Paris 12th-18th July 2009; Thibault Damour, Robert T. Jantzen, Remo Ruffini eds., pp. 21-33, (2012), World Scientific, Singapore, ISBN-13 978-981-4374-51-4; astro- ph/1002.0867.
The COrE Collaboration. COrE (Cosmic Origins Explorer) A White Paper. astro- ph/1102.2181 (2011).
Planck Collaboration. Planck early results. IX. XMM-Newton follow-up for validation of Planck cluster candidates (2011) A&A 536, A9.
Planck Collaboration. Planck early results. X. Statistical analysis of Sunyaev- Zeldovich scaling relations for X-ray galaxy clusters (2011) A&A 536, A10.
Planck Collaboration. Planck early results. XI. Calibration of the local galaxy cluster Sunyaev-Zeldovich scaling relations (2011) A&A 536, A11.
Planck Collaboration. Planck early results. XII. Cluster Sunyaev-Zeldovich optical scaling Relations. (2011) A&A 536, A12.
Tarasov M.A., L.S. Kuzmin, V.S. Edelman, S. Mahashabde, P. de Bernardis. Optical Response of a Cold-Electron Bolometer Array Integrated in a 345-GHz Cross-Slot Antenna. IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity 21, 3635-3639 (2011).
Schillaci, A., P. de Bernardis. On the effect of tilted roof reflectors in Martin-Puplett Spectrometers. Infrared Physics 55, 40-44, (2011).
Calvo, M. et al. Development of Kinetic Inductance Detectors for Cosmic Microwave Background experiments. Experimental Astronomy 28: 185–194 (2010).
Conversi, L. et al. Extracting cosmological signals from foregrounds in deep mm maps of the sky. Astronomy & Astrophysics 524, A7 (2010).
de Bernardis, P. Osservare l’Universo. Bologna: Il Mulino (2010).
Masi, S. et al. On the effect of cosmic rays in bolometric CMB measurements from the stratosphere. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 519, A24, (2010).
de Bernardis, P., M. Bucher, C. Burigana, L. Piccirillo. B-Pol: Detecting Primordial Gravitational Waves Generated During Inflation. Experimental Astronomy 23, 5-16 (2009).
Pagano, L. et al. CMB Polarization Systematics, Cosmological Birefringence and the Gravitational Waves Background. Physical Review D80, 043522 (2009).
Veneziani, M. et al. Sub-Degree Sunyaev-Zel’dovich Signal from Multi-Frequency BOOMERanG observations. The Astrophysical Journal 702, L61-L65, 2009.
Masi, S. et al. OLIMPO. Mem. S.A.It. Vol. 79, 887 (2008).
Colafrancesco, S. et al. Direct probes of Dark Matter in the cluster 1ES0657-556 through microwave observations. Astronomy &Astrophysics 467, 1 (2007).

Excerpt from the: The Balzan Prizewinners’ Research Projects: An Overview 2018