Cosmology & Gravitation

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

Seminar Series Events/Videos

TBA
Jan 16 2018 - 11:00am
Room #: 400
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Tuesday Dec 12, 2017

After more than 12 years of continuous data taking, the Pierre Auger Observatory has collected the largest dataset of ultra-high energy cosmic rays (UHECR) to date.

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Tuesday Nov 28, 2017

Extending the EFT of Inflation by adding marginal operators in unitary gauge that can affect the equation of motion for scalar perturbations, we unravel new inflationary models in which the dispersion relations is a sixth order polynomial. In particular we focus on the healthy marginal operators that do not infiltrate ghosts into the equations of motion and allow for gravity to decouple from the Goldstone boson above some energy scale. Various scenarios can arise depending on the parameters in the original theory.

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Tuesday Nov 21, 2017
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The Dark Energy Survey (DES) is a five-year, 5000 sq. deg. observing program using the Dark Energy Camera on the 4m Blanco telescope at CTIO. I will describe the cosmological analysis of large-scale structure in the Universe using 1321 sq. deg. of data taken in the first year of DES operations. The analysis combines unprecedented measurements of weak gravitational lensing and the clustering of galaxies over the redshift range 0.2 to 1.3 to derive the most precise such cosmological constraints to date.

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Tuesday Nov 14, 2017
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Naturalness arguments have been extremely influential in the foundations of physics during the last decades. I explain why they are based on faulty reasoning.

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Thursday Nov 02, 2017
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I present a one-function family of solutions to 4D vacuum Einstein equations. While all diffeomorphic to the extremal Kerr black hole, they are labeled by well-defined conserved charges and are hence distinct geometries. Out of the appropriate combination of these charges, we construct a Virasoro algebra and consistency conditions lead us to a proposal for identifying extreme Kerr black hole microstates, dubbed as extreme Kerr fluff. Counting these microstates, we correctly reproduce the extreme Kerr black hole entropy.

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Tuesday Oct 31, 2017
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The emergence of classical behavior from an out-of-equilibrium quantum wavefunction is determined by its entanglement structure, in the form of redundant information shared between many local subsystems. We show how this structure can be generated via cosmological dynamics from the vacuum state of a massless field, causing the wavefunction to branch into classical field configurations.  An accelerating epoch first excites the vacuum into a superposition of classical fields alongside a highly sensitive bath of super-horizon particles.

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Tuesday Oct 24, 2017
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I will discuss related aspects of field theories with higher-derivative Lagrangians but second-order equations of motion, with a focus on the Lovelock and Horndeski classes that have found use in modifications to general relativity. In the first half I will investigate when restricting to such terms is and is not well-justified from an effective field theory perspective. In the second half I will discuss how non-perturbative effects, like domain walls and quantum tunneling, are modified in the presence of these kinetic terms

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Tuesday Oct 17, 2017
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I will describe a tidal effect whereby the decay of primordial gravity waves leaves a permanent shear in the large-scale structure of the Universe. Future large-scale structure surveys - especially radio surveys of high-redshift hydrogen gas - could measure this shear and its spatial dependence to form a map of the initial gravity-wave field. The three dimensional nature of this probe makes it sensitive to the helicity of the gravity waves, allowing for searches for early-Universe gravitational parity violation.

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Tuesday Oct 10, 2017
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Standard models of cosmology use inflation as a mechanism to resolve the isotropy and homogeneity problem of the universe as well as the flatness problem. However, due to various well known problems with the inflationary paradigm, there has been an ongoing search for alternatives. Perhaps the most famous among these is the cyclic universe scenario or scenarios which incorporate bounces. As these scenarios have a contracting phase in the evolution of the universe, it is reasonable to ask whether the problems of homogeneity and isotropy can still be resolved in these scenarios.

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Tuesday Sep 26, 2017
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Thermodynamics is a closed field of research. The laws of thermodynamics, established in the nineteenth century, are still standing unchallenged.  However, they do not include gravity. Inclusion of gravity into the thermodynamical system can significantly modify the expected behavior of the system. We will demonstrate that gravity dynamically induces a maximal temperature that can be reached in a gas of particles.  We will also show how gravity can significantly change the Poincare recurrence theorem, and sometimes even prevent the recurrence from happening.

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