Cosmic Flow: In The Rainforest

With so much recent activity on measurements of motion in the universe it is timely to announce our upcoming workshop, “Cosmic Flow in the Rainforest”. Over February 20th-22nd, 2012, we will be hosting a small workshop-style conference at O’Reillys Rainforest Retreat, in the beautiful Gold Coast Hinterland, focusing on present and upcoming measurements of cosmic flows.

Cosmic flow refers to any coherent motion in the universe including the common Hubble flow due to the expansion. It can be used to probe the dynamics of our local universe as well as provide new insights into cosmology and gravitational theory. Local flows are particularly useful for studies of dark energy, since models of gravity that can explain the acceleration of the expansion of the universe may fail in explaining the growth of structure within it.

It is an area of research that is now seeing a resurgence of interest, and one in which Australia is particularly active. The 6 degree Field Galaxy Survey (6dFGS) has been undertaking a project to measure the peculiar velocities of around 10,000 galaxies and will soon be releasing their results. The WiggleZ dark energy survey recently reported their measurement of the rate of growth of structure in the universe, which confirmed that general relativity remains the best theory of gravity and vacuum energy remains the leading contender for dark energy. Meanwhile, new Australian facilities such as SkyMapper and ASKAP are now coming online that will make excellent peculiar velocity measurements over the next few years.

This meeting is a follow up to our Cosmic CoMotion Conference in September 2010 and the purpose of this meeting is to gather together the Australian community and international experts on cosmic flows to maximise the output from existing data sets such as 6dFGS and WiggleZ as well as optimise upcoming experiments and plan the analyses that are necessary to make the greatest scientific impact from these exciting new windows on the universe. It will largely be discussion based. We encourage interaction between observers and theorists and we are looking to include at least one theory specific session. Simulations of the expanding Universe will be showcased throughout this meeting.

Program summary:
Each half-day will consist of a series of short talks followed by a panel discussion (or similar) about the topics raised. There will also be free time for discussion and collaboration.

Day 1: Redshift space distortions and BAO
Day 2: Peculiar velocity surveys
Day 3: Future work (half day only)

The University of Queensland
The University of Queensland astrophysics group are hosts of this workshop, and we will warmly welcome visitors who would like to arrive early or stay on after the workshop and visit us in Brisbane. Please contact Tamara Davis (,
+61 7 3345 3433), to arrange your stay.

This conference has been made possible thanks to generous sponsorship from ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO) and Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO), along with contributions from L’Oréal Women in Science Fellowship, The University of Queensland, The Australian National University/SkyMapper, The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR).

Scientific Organising Committee:
Tamara Davis
Darren Croton
Matthew Colless
Jeremy Mould
Brian Schmidt
Lister Staveley-Smith

Local Organising Committee:
Tamara Davis
David Parkinson
Anthea King

Brendan Griffen

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