This series covers all areas of research at Perimeter Institute, as well as those outside of PI's scope.
The quantum states postulated to occur in situations of the "Schroedinger's Cat" type are essentially N-particle GHZ states with N very large compared to 1,and their observation would thus be particularly compelling evidence for the ubiquity of the phenomenon of entanglement. However, in the traditional quantum measurement literature considerable scepticism has been expressed about the observability of this kind of "macroscopically entangled" state, primarily because of the putatively disastrous effect on it of decoherence.
An entirely new kind of band insulator was discovered recently. These new electronic states - called "topological insulators" - are fundamentally different from standard band insulators. They are distinguished by the fact that their edges (in the 2D case) or surfaces (in the 3D case) support gapless transport which is extremely robust. In the two dimensional case, topological insulators can be thought of as time reversal invariant analogues of integer quantum Hall states.
Theoretical insights originated from the study of black holes combined with developments in string theory indicate that space time and gravity are emergent. A central role in these developments is played by the holographic principle. I will present a heuristic argument that indicates that at a microscopic level gravity is an entropic force caused by changes in the available phase space due to the displacement of material bodies. Refinement of the argument makes clear that this entropic view on gravity is consistent with quantum mechanics and supported by various results in string theory.
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.
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.
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.
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 of the QSH state in HgTe/CdTe semiconductor quantum wells, and its recent experimental observation.
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
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.