Cosmology & Gravitation

This series consists of talks in the areas of Cosmology, Gravitation and Particle Physics.

Seminar Series Events/Videos

Currently there are no upcoming talks in this series.

 

Tuesday Mar 31, 2015

More than a decade after its discovery, cosmic acceleration still 
poses a puzzle for modern cosmology and a plethora of models of dark energy 
or modified gravity, able to reproduce the observed expansion history, have 
been proposed as alternatives to the cosmological standard model. In recent 
years it has become increasingly evident that probes of the expansion his- 
tory are not sufficient to distinguish among the candidate models, and that 
it is necessary to combine those with observations that probe the dynamics 

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Tuesday Mar 24, 2015
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Given a large landscape of vacua that statistically favors large values of the neutrino mass sum, $m_\nu$, I will present the probability distribution over $m_\nu$ obtained by weighting this prior by the amount of galaxies that are produced. Using Boltzmann codes to compute the smoothed density contrast on Mpc scales, we find that large dark matter halos form abundantly for $m_\nu \gtrsim 10$\,eV. However, in this regime structure forms late and is dominated by cluster scales, as in a top-down scenario.

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Tuesday Mar 10, 2015
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Visible matter consists mostly of hydrogen and helium, only a small fraction
of which is in stars. Until recently, the bulk of the gas in the local
universe was in fact not seen. In the largest structures, massive galaxy
clusters, the gas is seen via its x-ray emission, but in the much more
numerous groups and isolated galaxies, it has not been possible to detect
it. I will describe how, in the last year or so, the situation has changed,
with the detection of a cross-correlation between the thermal SZ effect and

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Tuesday Mar 03, 2015
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The cosmic microwave background contains a wealth of
information about cosmology as well as high energy physics. It tells
us about the composition and geometry of the universe, the properties
of neutrinos, dark matter, and even about the conditions in our
universe long before the cosmic microwave background was emitted.
After a brief review of what we may hope to learn from studies of the
cosmic microwave background about the early universe, I will review
measurements of the angular power spectrum of temperature

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Tuesday Feb 24, 2015
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An exciting and largely unexplored frontier in observational and theoretical cosmology is to understand the properties of the universe between 400,000 years and one billion years after the big bang. Notably, the first galaxies formed in this time period, perhaps a few hundred million years after the big bang.  These galaxies strongly influenced the gas in their surroundings as well as the formation of subsequent generations of galaxies.

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Tuesday Feb 17, 2015
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It is well known that S-matrix Analyticity, Lorentz invariance and Unitarity place strong constraints on whether Effective Field Theories can be UV completed. A large class of gravitational field theories such as Massive Gravity and DGP inspired braneworld models contain as limits Galileon theories which in the past have been argued to violate the conditions necessary for a UV completion.

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Tuesday Feb 10, 2015
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The last years have seen a renewed interest in theories of massive gravity. They represent an infra-red modification of gravity where the gravitational force weakens at very large scales. Heuristically, they provide the playground to understand a possible modification of GR which could potentially provide a dynamical solution to the cosmological constant problem. In this talk I will discuss a number of theoretical aspects of massive gravity theories, focusing on the relevance of the so-called Vainstein mechanism, both at the classical and the quantum level.

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Tuesday Jan 27, 2015
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This talk will cover a number of fun topics related to studying and understanding the Cosmic Microwave Background, including where it came from, how it is like an inside-out star, CMB numerology, how much information it contains and how it is evolving in time.

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Tuesday Jan 20, 2015
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Models such as Natural Inflation that use Pseudo-Nambu-Goldstone bosons (PNGB's) as the inflaton are attractive for many reasons.

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Tuesday Jan 13, 2015
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We explore the brightness frontier in time domain radio astronomy and its possible usefulness for cosmology.  It is argued that the brightest known source of emission, Crab nanoshots, are caused by Schwinger pair production.  The same mechanism may be the source of Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) if this emission is form coalescing neutron stars.  It is then shown how using FRBs as triggers can extend the reach of gravitational radiation and neutrino telescopes.  Finally we discuss how combining FRB monitoring, large neutrino telescopes, combined with preexisting galaxy catalogs could provide an

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