This series consists of talks in the areas of Cosmology, Gravitation and Particle Physics.
I will review relativistic quantum theory that is based on Wigner\'s unitary representations of the Poincare group, Dirac\'s forms of dynamics, and Newton-Wigner\'s definition of the position operator. Formulas will be derived that transform particle observables between different inertial reference frames. In the absence of interactions, these formulas coincide with Lorentz transformations from special relativity. However, when interaction is turned on, some deviations appear.
We study the effective field theory of inflation, i.e. the most general theory describing the fluctuations around a quasi de Sitter background, in the case of single field models. The scalar mode can be eaten by the metric by going to unitary gauge. In this gauge, the most general theory is built with the lowest dimension operators invariant under spatial diffeomorphisms, like g^{00} and K_{mu nu}, the extrinsic curvature of constant time surfaces.
I will review an old (Greenberg and Schweber, 1958) and undeservedly forgotten idea in quantum field theory. This idea allows one to reformulate QFT as a Hamiltonian theory of physical (rather than bare) particles and their direct interactions. The dressed particle approach is scattering-equivalent to the traditional one, however it doesn\'t require renormalization and may provide a valuable tool for calculations of wave functions of bound states and time evolution.
Many string theorists and cosmologists have recently turned their attention to building and testing string theory models of inflation. One of the main goals is to find novel features that could distinguish stringy models from their field theoretic counterparts. This is difficult because, in most examples, string theory is used to derived an effective theory operating at energies well below the string scale.
We introduce a formalism allowing us to localize a certain class of theories with an infinite number of derivatives (nonlocal), which include effective actions of string field theory. The number of degrees of freedom is finite and the Cauchy problem, Hamiltonian and quantization are all well-defined. As applications, the rolling tachyon of cubic string field theory and some cosmological toy models are considered.
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Two spinning black holes emit gravitational waves as they orbit, and eventually merge to form a single black hole. How do the properties of the final black hole depend on those of the initial black holes? This is a classic problem in general relativity, with implications for astrophysics, cosmology, and gravitational wave detection. I will describe the rapid numerical and theoretical progress over the past two years, and discuss some open questions and future directions.
The most remarkable recent discovery in fundamental physics is that the Universe is undergoing accelerated expansion. A proper understanding of its physical origin forces us to make a hard choice between dynamical and environmental scenarios. The former approach predicts the existence of a new long distance physics in the gravitational sector, while the second relies on the vast landscape of vacua with different values of the cosmological constant. I will discuss achievements and shortcomings of both approaches, and illustrate them in the concrete examples.
Cosmological observations will soon distinguish between the standard slow roll inflationary paradigm and some of its recently developed alternatives. Driven by developments in string theory, many new models include features such as non-minimal kinetic terms, leading to large non-gaussianities, making them observationally testable in the CMB. Models of slow roll inflation can also give rise to large non- gaussianities if the initial inflationary state was sufficiently excited, with a shape dependence that will be clearly distinguishable.