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Waqas Bashir

This project aims to weigh the universe (i.e. measure the number of baryons it contains) by comparing the amount of hydrogen and its main isotope deuterium. The temperature anisotropies of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) gives a good choice of determining the cosmological parameters to better than 1-2 percent. But we need a consistency check by alternate methods. Baryon density can also be deduced from the primordial abundance of the Deuterium (D/H)p. We measure the Deuterium abundance (D/H) from the pristine gas clouds in the spectra of background quasars (QSO)- the bright accretion disks around supermassive black holes-taken with the greatest optical telescope, such as Keck 10 meters in Hawaii and VLT-8 meters in Chile. Quasar absorption systems are the best environment where both accurate and precise measures of the primordial abundances of the deuterium can be obtained. This approach also offers an exciting avenue to test the standard model of cosmology.

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