Bharat Ratra is the Distinguished Professor of Theoretical Physics at Kansas State University. Bharat received his M.Sc. from the Indian Institute of Technology in 1982 and his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1986. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Astronomical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has won the National Science Foundation CAREER award and the Olin Petefish Award in Basic Science.
Bharat and his research partners have pioneered measurements of the redshift of the transition between an earlier epoch, when cosmological expansion decelerated because dark and baryonic (ordinary) matter dominated the cosmological energy budget, and the current epoch, where the cosmological expansion accelerates because dark energy dominates the current cosmological energy budget. Bharat also proposed the first inflation model that can generate, from quantum fluctuations, a large-enough primordial cosmological magnetic field to be able to explain observed galactic magnetic fields.
Bharat's current research focuses on developing and testing cosmological models for the large-scale matter and radiation distributions in the universe. His primary goal is to test Einstein's general relativity on extremely large spatial- and temporal-scales. More immediate goals include determining the geometry and contents of the universe and how the large-scale structure of the universe was formed. The cosmological models he studies include ones that are spatially open, and those that are spatially flat and dominated by quintessence, a time-variable cosmological `constant' - both of which were developed in collaboration with Jim Peebles. Of particular interest are the predictions these models make for the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) anisotropy. This variation in temperature, from point to point in the sky, contains information about the geometry and contents of the universe. For the past few years Bharat and his colleagues have been analyzing CMBR anisotropy datasets from the NASA COBE satellite and other ground-based and balloon-borne experiments, effectively bridging theory and observation.
Find out more about Bharat Ratra’s research at Kansas State University here.