This series covers all areas of research at Perimeter Institute, as well as those outside of PI's scope.
With a cosmic flight simulator, we'll take a scenic journey through space and time. After exploring
our local Galactic neighborhood, we'll travel back 13.7 billion years to explore the Big Bang itself and
how state-of-the-art measurements are transforming our understanding of our cosmic origin and ultimate fate.
We then turn to the question of whether this can all be described purely mathematically, and discuss
implications ranging from standard physics topics like symmetries, irreducible representations, units,
Understanding magnetic reconnection is one of the major challenges of plasma physics. It plays an essential role in a wide range of physical systems such as stellar flares, accretion disks, active galactic nuclei, astrophysical dynamos and closer to home, intense magnetic energy releases in the Earth's magnetosphere. It is a phenomena which can be created in the laboratory.
If spacetime is "quantized" (discrete), then any equation of motion compatible with the Lorentz transformations is necessarily non-local. I will present evidence that this sort of nonlocality survives on length scales much greater than Planckian, yielding for example a nonlocal effective wave-equation for a scalar field propagating on an underlying causal set. Nonlocality of our effective field theories may thus provide a characteristic signature of quantum gravity.
A full analysis of QCD, the fundamental theory of subnuclear structure and interactions, relies upon numerical simulations and the lattice approximation. After being stalled for almost 30 years, recent breakthroughs in lattice QCD allow us for the first time to analyze the low-energy structure of QCD nonperturbatively with few-percent precision. This talk will present a non-technical overview of the history leading up to these breakthroughs, and survey the wide array of applications that have been enabled by them.
We have previously isolated and characterized a multipotent precursor cell (termed SKPs for SKin-derived Precursors) from both rodent and human skin, and have shown that these stem cells share many characteristics with a multipotent stem cell that is found in the embryo termed a neural crest stem cell. Here I will discuss our current work with regard to the basic biology of these stem cells, with a focus on the what, where and why, and on their therapeutic potential with specific regard to the nervous system.
The nature of an unusual class of cosmic X-ray source, dubbed "Anomalous X-ray Pulsars," was a mystery since 1982 when the first example was discovered. In this talk, I will show the recent observational evidence that unambiguously links them with another equally exotic class of object, the explosive "Soft Gamma Repeaters." The evidence todate strongly supports the picture that both are "magnetars:" isolated young neutron stars having surface magnetic fields ~1000 times greater than those in conventional neutron stars.
Boundary conformal field theory finds applications not only to high energy physics but also to condensed matter systems containing quantum impurities, whose world lines can sometimes be modelled as boundaries of 2-dimensional space-time. This technique leads to exact predictions for the low temperature behaviour of gated semi-conductor quantum dot devices which have been recently confirmed experimentally. I will give a non-technical overview of both the theory and the experiments.
We discuss motivations, observational constraints and consequences of modifying the fundamental laws of gravity at large distances. Such modifications of gravity can be the reason for the observed late-time acceleration of the Universe, and can be differentiated from conventional dark energy via precision cosmology. The inevitable additional polarizations of graviton lead to observably large perihelion precession of the Lunar and Martian orbits. These theories also have potentially observable consequences at LHC .