Cosmology & Gravitation

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

Seminar Series Events/Videos

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Tuesday Nov 29, 2016
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I will discuss the potential for the LISA space-based interferometer to detect the stochastic Gravitational Wave (GW) background produced from different mechanisms during inflation. In particular, I will present the GW contributions from particle production during inflation, inflationary spectator fields with varying speed of sound, effective field theories of inflation with specific patterns of symmetry breaking and models leading to the formation of primordial black holes.

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Tuesday Nov 08, 2016
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I discuss the phenomenology of models of inflation with periodic particle production. Particle production occurs as the mass of heavy particles goes through non-adiabatic modulations as the inflaton field rolls. I show that this process can lead to significant emission of scalar and gravitational waves during inflation, with distinct observational signatures.

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Tuesday Nov 01, 2016

We argue that moduli stabilization severely constrains the evolution following transitions between weakly coupled de Sitter vacua and can induce a strong selection bias towards inflationary cosmologies. We carefully discuss gravitational vacuum decays and resolve a naive sign ambiguity in the exponential of the decay rate. Equipped with this clear understanding of vacuum decay we then turn towards constraints on the cosmological evolution after transitions in weakly coupled flux compactifications.

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Tuesday Oct 25, 2016
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If heavy fields are present during inflation, they can leave an imprint in late-time cosmological observables. The main signature of these fields is a small amount of distinctly shaped non-Gaussianity, which if detected, would provide a wealth of information about the particle spectrum of the inflationary Universe. Here we investigate to what extent these signatures can be detected or constrained using futuristic 21-cm surveys. This part of my talk is based on 1610.06559.

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Tuesday Oct 18, 2016
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The precision of current and future cosmological observations at Megaparsec scales demands a detailed understanding of the effects of baryonic processes on the clustering of matter at these scales. In this talk, I will explore how to use measurements of cosmic shear to constrain the impact of these processes on the total matter power spectrum.

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Tuesday Oct 11, 2016
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It has long been wondered to what extent the observable properties of an inhomogeneous universe will be measurably different from a corresponding FLRW model. Here, we use tools from numerical relativity to study the properties of photons traversing an inhomogeneous universe. We evolve the full, unconstrained Einstein field equations for a spacetime containing dust, with a spectrum of long-wavelength density perturbations similar to the observed one.

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Tuesday Oct 04, 2016
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In this seminar, I will present two promising ways in which the cosmic microwave background (CMB) sheds light on critical uncertain physics and systematics of the large-scale structure.
       Shear calibration with CMB lensing (arXiv:1607.01761):

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Tuesday Sep 27, 2016
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Despite tremendous recent progress, gaps remain in our knowledge of our cosmic history. For example, we have yet to make observations of Cosmic Dawn or the subsequent Epoch of Reionization. Together, these represent the important period when the first stars and galaxies were formed, dramatically altering their surroundings in the process. Radio telescopes targeting the 21cm line will open up these crucial epochs to direct observations in the next few years, filling in a missing chapter in our cosmic story.

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Tuesday Sep 20, 2016
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If we want a mechanism for the current cosmic expansion that is alternative to (and possibly more “natural” than) the cosmological constant, there exist intriguing proposals within the dark energy and modified gravity realm.

First, I will briefly review the status of one of the most promising ideas, massive gravity: cosmological solutions, some formal aspects and recent developments. Then, I will present recent work aimed at constraining such models with LSS probes.

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Tuesday Sep 13, 2016
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In the coming decade, ground based CMB telescopes could face a substantial upgrade, to so-called CMB-S4. There are two main science drivers behind this initiative: B-modes, and neutrino mass, and I will focus on the latter. Thought of more generally, constraints on neutrinos can be thought of as generic tests of dark matter. I will discuss the prospects for CMB-S4 in the dark sector, with emphasis on searches for axions and neutrinos.

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