Cosmic Dawn & Reionization

Podevin-Dark Ages of the UniverseIn 2004, Ger de Bruyn, Saleem Zaroubi and I initiated the LOFAR Epoch of Reionization Key Science Project (LOFAR-EoR-KSP), while LOFAR was still in its early design stage. Since then we have steadily built and maintained a large group of dedicated researchers working on the preparation and execution of this KSP. During LOFAR’s design and development phase, I was part of the LOFAR Astronomy Research Committee (ARC), advising ASTRON. As of 2010 during LOFAR commissioning phase, but especially since Cycle-0 in 2012, our KSP has collected many Petabytes of data that we are currently processing on our  dedicated GPU-based compute-cluster using in-house developed data-processing pipelines. The team members have developed these codes, many of which are now in standard use to process LOFAR (and other radio-telescope) data-sets.

In parallel to this I was chair of the SKA EoR(/CD) Science Working Group in 2010-2015 that has worked with the SKA Office to ensure that SKA will be able to do transformational science (such as 21-cm Cosmic Dawn studies  and imaging of the Epoch of Reionization). I recently (2015) founded the SKA EoR/CD Science Team that hopes to execute a Key Science Program on the SKA in the coming decade in order to characterize and image the 21-cm emission from neutral hydrogen from z=6-27. I lead a Dutch Roadmap effort ‘transfer’ LOFAR-EoR data-processing lessons to SKA1-low (SDP consortium).

I am also involved as science-team member in Nenufar in France and in the Netherlands-China Low-Frequency Explorer (NCLE) on the Change’4 mission. I co-proposed the DEX space interferometer to ESA with the aim to characterize the 21-cm emission from the Dark Ages, beyond ground-based facilities. Recently, I became  a team member of NESS (Network for Exploration and Space Science) that aims to carry out NASA’s agenda on space exploration.