Strong Gravity

This series consists of talks in areas where gravity is the main driver behind interesting or peculiar phenomena, from astrophysics to gravity in higher dimensions.

Seminar Series Events/Videos

TBA
May 12 2016 - 1:00pm
Room #: 400
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TBA
Jun 2 2016 - 1:00pm
Room #: 400
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Thursday Apr 14, 2016
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Inspired by recent progress into recasting dissipative fluid dynamics within an effective action formalism,

I will show how to embed this problem in holography, where such effective actions can be computed explicitly for the class of relativistic conformal fluids. In particular I will identify the geometric counterpart of certain Goldstone bosons, the light degrees of freedom responsible for the low energy excitations in hydrodynamics. Moreover I will show how the underlying UV Schwinger-Keldysh structure arises at the level of the effective action.

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Thursday Feb 18, 2016
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The Advanced LIGO observatories have successfully completed their first science run. Data were collected from September 2015 to January 2016, with a sensitivity a few times better than initial instruments in the hundreds of Hertz band. In this talk I will describe the searches for gravitational-wave transients performed during the first few weeks of the science run. Furthermore, I will describe the methods devised to characterize transient gravitational-wave sources and their applications in the advanced gravitational-wave detector era.

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Thursday Jan 21, 2016
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Generation of accurate mock observations tailored specifically to upcoming surveys such as Advanced ACT, CHIME, and LSST is a key technical challenge in cosmology. Traditional approaches involving N-body simulation are fraught with difficulties due to increasingly large survey volumes and depths. Typically, statistical ensembles can only be realized for a few carefully-chosen parameters, limiting exploration to a significantly restricted cosmological model space.

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Thursday Dec 10, 2015
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In the coming years, astrophysical observations of strongly gravitating systems will provide us with exciting new data to study extremely compact objects and Einstein’s theory of general relativity. In particular, gravitational wave observatories will soon reach the sensitivity required to detect merging black holes and neutron stars, while the Event Horizon Telescope is about to observe accretion flows around two supermassive black holes with sub-horizon resolution.

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Thursday Dec 03, 2015
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The mergers of black hole-neutron star and neutron star-neutron star binaries are one of the primary targets for Advanced LIGO and other gravitational wave detectors now coming online. In addition, these events may source a number of electromagnetic counterparts, including short gamma-ray bursts and ejecta powered transients. Particularly in the case of binaries that are dynamically-assembled in dense stellar regions like globular clusters, these mergers may involve neutron stars with non-negligible spin.

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Thursday Nov 19, 2015
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Neutron stars offer us an excellent testbed to probe fundamental physics, such as nuclear physics and strong-field gravity. Unlike the well-studied mass-radius relation for neutron stars that depends strongly on their internal structure, I first report unexpected universal relations that we found among the moment of inertia, tidal Love number and quadrupole moment ("I-Love-Q" relations) that are insensitive to the internal structure.

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Thursday Nov 12, 2015
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This is the first of two talks on recent advances in our understanding of hydrodynamics as a generic theory of near-thermal dynamics of density matrices. In this talk I will focus on the structure of the hydrodynamic gradient expansion subject to the Second Law of thermodynamics. I will present an eightfold classification scheme and an explicit solution at all orders in derivatives of hydrodynamic transport consistent with the Second Law.

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Thursday Oct 29, 2015
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Plasma-filled magnetospheres can extract energy from a spinning black hole and provide the power source for a variety of observed astrophysical phenomena. These magnetospheres are described by the highly nonlinear equations of force-free electrodynamics. Typically these equations can only be solved numerically, but they become amenable to analytic solution in the extremal limit when the black hole achieves maximal angular momentum and an infinite-dimensional conformal symmetry emerges in the high-redshift region near its horizon.

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Thursday Oct 22, 2015
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Advanced LIGO has recently started operating, with the promise that discoveries of gravitational wave transients will begin within in the next few years. As astrophysical observatories, LIGO and similar experiments may inform our knowledge of a variety of topics, including heavy element formation, dynamical capture of black holes, and the neutron star equation of state. In this talk, I will highlight recent efforts to quickly identify and distribute transients found with LIGO, and explore some of the astrophysics questions we hope to address.

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Thursday Oct 15, 2015
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In this talk I will describe numerical constructions of gravitational

duals of theories deformed by localized Dirac delta sources for scalar

operators. We perform two different constructions, one at zero and

the other at nonzero temperature. Surprisingly we find that imposing the preservation of scale

invariance at zero temperature requires the bulk scalar self-interaction potential to be

the one found in a certain Kaluza-Klein compactification of 11D supergravity.

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