Gravity and the Search for New Physics with Cosmology

Despite its feeble in strength, gravity plays a pivotal role in shaping our Universe and the things in it. Ever since Newton formulated his universal law of gravitation the recognition that all things gravitate has been nearly sacrosanct. Repeatedly, apparent gravitational anomalies have either foretold the existence of new physics or a misunderstanding of gravity itself, from the existence of nuclear forces to Einstein's general relativity. Eighty years ago gravity betrayed the existence of dark matter, and fifteen years ago gravity demanded dark energy from reluctant cosmologists. I will discuss how gravity enables modern cosmology to explore the echoes of the invisible universe, even if it is impossible or difficult to directly see the invisible universe. In particular, I will show how gravity enables us to put surprisingly severe constraints on the coupling of dark matter to new light particles and search for secret interactions between Fermi's elusive neutrinos. The physics and cosmic history of the invisible universe are writ large across the cosmos itself, and gravity is our tried and trusted messenger.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 14:00 to 15:30
Lazaridis Theatre