What makes a scientist tick? How did they get started? What advice do they offer today’s students? Find out by viewing these short video interviews with leading researchers from around the world. Each person explains their interest in science, from young school-age days to the present, and shares insights about what it's like to be a scientist. In addition to hearing personal comments, you can link to some related PI Public Lectures and also read about associated research areas at PI.
Theoretical models for cosmology – from standard to exotic (e.g. cosmic strings and monopoles). “Quantum creation” of multiple universes out of nothing; eternal inflation and the anthropic selection of a world that would ultimately become hospitable to life.
Cosmology and cosmological implications of quantum gravity. Observable effects in cosmology help to identify the limits of general relativity, which could potentially be surpassed by modified theories of gravity and/or quantum gravity.
Applications of quantum theory to cryptography and computation; understanding in more concrete, physical terms what quantum theory is telling us about the nature of reality. Applications of information theory to better understand the quantum “wave function”.
Mathematical aspects of modern theories of elementary particles and gravitation. Replacing the notion of particles with fundamental abstract fields (magnetic monopoles, vortices and Skyrmions) in an attempt to approach a formulation for quantum gravity.
String- and M-theory inspired scenarios for the cosmology of the early universe. Replacing the unphysical Big Bang-like beginning of our universe with bouncing scenarios of accelerated expansion followed by familiar evolution.
What, exactly, happened around the time of the Big Bang? Exploring new models inspired by superstring theory and supergravity, e.g. ones in which we live on “branes” that collide with a “big bang”. Satellite experiments to test such models.
The origin and evolution of the largest observable structures in the universe (much larger than entire galaxies); understanding why the expansion of the universe is accelerating. Observational techniques: cosmic microwave background, gravitational lensing and gravity waves.
Cosmology of the early universe; theory and detection of gravitational waves, e.g. from the violent last stages of inspiral as two orbiting black holes coalesce. Using cutting edge quantum physics in designing practical, ultra sensitive gravitational wave detectors.
Applications of the quantum nature of our universe to potential new technologies like quantum cryptography and quantum computation. In particular, theoretical developments such as fault-tolerant quantum codes and protocols for quantum error correction.
Many aspects of string theory, ranging from its mathematical structure and various formulations, to possible implications for black holes and cosmology. Using string phenomenology to connect theory with reality, i.e. string mathematics with elementary particle physics.