Probing cosmic inflation: WMAP and beyond

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Current measurements from WMAP and other cosmological probes are consistent with a simple inflationary model. Such models predict a background of gravitational waves which may soon be observable in the polarized component of the Cosmic Microwave Background.
However, WMAP has observed significant levels of polarized radiation from our galaxy, due to both synchrotron radiation and thermal dust emission.
A better understanding of this radiation will be vital if we are to correctly remove it and confidently detect an inflationary signal.
As well as discussing the observational case for inflation, I will review the physical origins of the polarized galactic emission, present a simple model for the galactic magnetic field, and discuss current and future directions for improving upon our galactic models.