Colloquium

This series covers all areas of research at Perimeter Institute, as well as those outside of PI's scope.

Seminar Series Events/Videos

Currently there are no upcoming talks in this series.

 

Wednesday Apr 21, 2010
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Frustrated magnets are materials in which localized magnetic moments, or spins, interact through competing exchange interactions that cannot be simultaneously satisfied, giving rise to a large degeneracy of the system ground state. Under certain conditions, this can lead to the formation of fluid-like states of matter, so-called spin liquids, in which the constituent spins are highly correlated but still fluctuate strongly down to a temperature of absolute zero.

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Wednesday Apr 14, 2010
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The primordial density fluctuations that seeded large-scale structure are known to be nearly Gaussian, as predicted by most early universe models like slow-roll inflation. Many of these models predict a small (but nonzero!) amount of primordial non-gaussianity, which can subtly affect the statistics of CMB anisotropies. Surprisingly, even a small primordial non-gaussianity can produce enormous changes in the large-scale clustering of galaxies and quasars at late times.

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Wednesday Apr 07, 2010
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We study a novel state of matter: algebraic Bose liquid (ABL). An ABL is a quantum bosonic system on a 2d or 3d lattice that does not break any symmetry in its ground state, but still able to stabilize a gapless spectrum. At high energy these boson systems only have the simplest U(1) global symmetry associated with the conservation of boson number, but at low energy the system is described by self-dual gauge fields. In this talk we will present two new ABL phases emerged from a quantum Boson model on the cubic lattice.

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Wednesday Mar 31, 2010
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Recently, a new class of topological states has been theoretically predicted and experimentally realized. The topological insulators have an insulating gap in the bulk, but have topologically protected edge or surface states due to the time reversal symmetry. In two dimensions the edge states give rise to the quantum spin Hall (QSH) effect, in the absence of any external magnetic field. I shall review the theoretical prediction[1] of the QSH state in HgTe/CdTe semiconductor quantum wells, and its recent experimental observation[2].

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Wednesday Mar 24, 2010
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The hot, gaseous atmospheres of galaxies and clusters of galaxies are
repositories for the energy output from accreting, supermassive black holes located in the nuclei of galaxies.
X-ray observations show that star formation fueled by gas condensing out of hot atmospheres is strongly suppressed by feedback from active galactic nuclei (AGN). This mechanism
may solve several outstanding problems in astrophysics, including the
numbers of luminous galaxies and their colors, and the excess number of

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Wednesday Mar 17, 2010
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I will present recent numerical results obtained in collaboration with Frans Pretorius that describe head-on collisions of two solitons coupled to the general relativistic gravitational field and boosted to ultra relativistic energies. The calculations show, for the first time, that at sufficiently high energies such a collision leads to black hole formation, consistent with hoop conjecture arguments.

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Wednesday Mar 10, 2010
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Quantum Bayesianism is a point of view on quantum foundations that says that there is no such thing as a “measurement problem” because there is no such THING as a quantum state: Quantum states are not things---instead information. But the view doesn’t stop there; it starts there! Taking the idea seriously over the last 15 years has been the direct motivation for a number of theorems and objects in quantum information theory: from the no-broadcasting theorem, to the quantum de Finetti theorem, and even some quantum cryptographic alphabets.

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Wednesday Mar 03, 2010
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Self-assembly refers to any thermodynamic process in which a bunch of particles (molecules, biomolecules, polymers, colloids) come together in solution to form an ordered structure. In living things it is a widely used and robust manufacturing tool: DNA, RNA and proteins spontaneously form three dimensional structures, and supramolecular structures emerge from protein aggregates with staggering degrees of ordering and specificity. By contrast, most synthetic systems in soft condensed matter do not assemble robustly.

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Wednesday Feb 24, 2010
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Viscosity is a very old concept which was introduced to physics by Navier in the 19th century. However, in strongly coupled systems, the viscosity is usually difficult to compute. In this talk I will describe how gauge/gravity duality, a by-product of string theory, allows one to compute the viscosity for a class of strongly interacting fluids not too dissimilar to the quark gluon plasma. I will also describe efforts to measure the viscosity and other physical properties of the quark gluon plasma at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.

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Wednesday Feb 17, 2010
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We will review the definitions of spin foam models for quantum gravity and the recent advances in this field, such as the "graviton propagator", the definition of coherent states of geometry and the derivation of non-commutative field theories as describing the effective dynamics of matter coupled to quantum gravity. I will insist on the role of group field theories as providing a non-perturbative definition of spinfoams and their intricate relation with non-commutative geometry and matrix models.

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