The discovery that the cosmic expansion is accelerating, presumably driven by weirdness in the vacuum we call dark energy, has precipitated a crisis in fundamental physics. A number of ambitious dark energy projects are in the design or construction phase, with an eye towards controlling sources of systematic error. I will describe one such next-generation project, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), that will combine a large collecting area (8.5 meter diameter primary mirror), a wide-field imager (3.5 Gpix), and a sophisticated image processing pipeline in order to provide unprecedented insight into the nature of dark energy. This talk will explore some of the issues that are often swept under the carpet, including sensor artifacts, precision calibration issues, and the challenges of distinguishing astrophysical phenomena from new physics.
Argonne Physics Division Colloquium Schedule