This series consists of talks in the areas of Cosmology, Gravitation and Particle Physics.
The initial conditions for structure formation, and hence the dark matter distribution on sub-galactic scales, depend on the microphysics of the dark matter in the early Universe. I will focus on WIMPs and explain how collisional damping and free-streaming erase perturbations on comoving scales k> ~1/pc. Consequently the first structures to form in the Universe are mini-halos with mass of order the Earth. I will then describe the status of calculations of the subsequent dynamical evolution of these mini-halos. Finally, if time permits, I'll briefly overview the microphysics of axions.
If low-scale supersymmetry exists in nature, then it it will be very likely that a number of superpartners will be discovered at the LHC. It is also very likely, however, that much of the supersymmetric spectrum will go unobserved, leaving many important holes in our understanding of the TeV scale. Direct and indirect astrophysical probes of neutralino dark matter can enable for some of these holes to be filled.
Realizations of inflation in string theory hold the promise of connecting the theory to observational tests, and at the same time providing new insights for field theory models of inflation. I will report on progress towards realizing inflation on D-branes in type IIB string theory. Moduli stabilization effects generically lead to an eta problem in this scenario, and to analyze the model it is necessary to compute a particular correction to the nonperturbative effects arising on wrapped D-branes.
I argue that all necessary ingredients for successful inflation are
present in the minimal supersymmetric standard model (MSSM). The potential for the supersymmetric flat directions (which can be viewed as moduli near
I will demonstrate how one can realize Cascade inflation in M-theory. Cascade inflation is a realization of assisted inflation which is driven by non-perturbative interactions of N M5-branes. Its power spectrum possesses three distinctive signatures: a decisive power suppression at small scales, oscillations around the scales that cross the horizon when the inflaton potential jumps and stepwise decrease in the scalar spectral index. All three properties result from features in the inflaton potential.
In this talk I will discuss some aspects of graviton production by moving branes. After a brief introduction to braneworld cosmology I will focus on braneworlds in a five-dimensional bulk, where cosmological expansion is mimicked by motion through AdS_5. The moving brane acts naturally as a time-dependent boundary for the five-dimensional graviton (five-dimensional tensor perturbations) leading to graviton production out of quantum vacuum fluctuations. This effect is related to the so-called dynamical Casimir effect, i.e.
The best studied class of dark matter candidates in Supersymmetric theories is the WIMP, Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, which makes cold dark matter. There is a well-motivated alternative to the WIMP -- dark matter populated by decays of WIMPs. This dark matter from decays is closer in spirit to warm dark matter. They can be distinguished from cold dark matter by observations of structure on scales smaller than about a megaparsec, where cold dark matter models seem to face difficulty. Big Bang Nucleosynthesis predictions are also modified in interesting ways.
Experiments have ruled out unit-strength scalar-mediated fifth forces on scales ranging from 0.1 mm to 10,000 AU. However, allowing the scalar to have a quartic self-interaction weakens these constraints considerably. This weakening is due to the "chameleon mechanism", which gives the scalar field an effective mass that depends on the local matter density. I will describe the chameleon mechanism and discuss experimental constraints on self-interacting scalar fields.