The Dark Ages, Cosmic Dawn and Epoch of Reionization:
SKA and its Precursors and Pathfinders

Leon Koopmans (Kapteyn Astronomical Institute)

March 31, 2015 at 11am
Amphithéâtre, IAP

The first one billion years of our Universe contains a treasure trove of information about cosmology, dark matter, the formation of the first stars, galaxies, black holes and the ISM. However, after recombination very little is known, until neutral hydrogen once again was nearly fully ionized about one billion years later at z~6. I will provide an overview of some of the exciting things we can learn by studying these eras and what the current state of our knowledge is, based on a variety of different observables. I then proceed to show how the redshifted 21-cm emission from neutral hydrogen itself might provide the most comprehensive description of physical processes in the Universe between recombination and full reionization. After summarizing the current status of ongoing experiments (i.e. with PAPER, GMRT, LOFAR and MWA) to detect this emission for the first time, I will then take a forward look in particular focusing on the SKA as recently approved by the SKA board as well as on other potential instruments that could significantly advance this field of research (e.g. NenuFar).