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Cosmology & Gravitation

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

Seminar Series Events/Videos

Oct 24 2017 - 11:00am
Room #: 400
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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.

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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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Tuesday Sep 19, 2017
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Many of the multi-planet systems discovered around other stars are maximally packed. This implies that simulations with masses or orbital parameters too far from the actual values will destabilize on short timescales; thus, long-term dynamics allows one to constrain the orbital architectures of many closely packed multi-planet systems. I will present a recent such application in the TRAPPIST-1 system, with 7 Earth-sized planets in the longest resonant chain discovered to date. In this case the complicated resonant phase space structure allows for strong constraints.

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Tuesday Sep 12, 2017
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The study of super-Eddington accretion is essential to our understanding of the growth of super-massive black holes in the early universe, the accretion of tidally disrupted stars, and the nature of ultraluminous X-ray sources.  Unfortunately, this mode of accretion is particularly difficult to model because of the multidimensionality of the flow, the importance magnetohydrodynamic turbulence, and the dominant dynamical role played by radiation forces.  However, recent increases in computing power and advances in algorithms are facilitating major improvements in our ab

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Monday Sep 11, 2017
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The 21cm transition of atomic hydrogen is rapidly becoming one of our most powerful tools for probing the evolution of the universe.  The Hydrogen Intensity and Real-time Analysis eXperiment (HIRAX) is a planned 1,024-element array to be built in South Africa that will study the (possible) evolution of dark energy from z=0.8 to 2.5.

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Tuesday Aug 29, 2017
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Recently, the idea of taking ensemble average over gravity models has been introduced. Based on this idea, we study the ensemble average over (effectively) all the gravity models dubbing the name uber-gravity which is a fixed point in the model space. The uber-gravity has interesting universal properties, independent from the choice of basis: i) it mimics Einstein-Hilbert gravity for high-curvature regime, ii) it predicts stronger gravitational force for an intermediate-curvature regime, iii) surprisingly, for low-curvature regime, i.e.

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Tuesday Aug 22, 2017
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Universality classes of inflation as phases of condensed matter: slow-roll, solids, gaugids etc.

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Thursday Aug 10, 2017
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In models of inflation driven by an axion-like pseudoscalar field, the inflaton, a, may couple to the standard model hypercharge gauge field via a Chern-Simons-type interaction, L ⊃ a F F̃. This coupling results in the explosive production of hypermagnetic fields during inflation, which has two interesting consequences: (1) The primordial hypermagnetic field is maximally helical. It is therefore capable of sourcing the generation of nonzero baryon number around the electroweak phase transition (via the chiral anomaly in the standard model).

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Thursday Aug 03, 2017
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The unrenormalised energy momentum tensor is both huge and fluctuating from point to point. Taking this seriously we (Qingdi Wang, Zhen Zhu, and myself) argue that the slow exponential expansion of the universe (on time scales of 10^10 years) comes from a very weak parametric resonance induced by the fluctuating energy mementum tensor on the rapidly fluctuating scale factor (on time scales much shorter than the Planck scale). We see only the slow exponential growth because we avarage over the scale factor squared.

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