Since 2002 Perimeter Institute has been recording seminars, conference talks, and public outreach events using video cameras installed in our lecture theatres. Perimeter now has 7 formal presentation spaces for its many scientific conferences, seminars, workshops and educational outreach activities, all with advanced audio-visual technical capabilities. Recordings of events in these areas are all available On-Demand from this Video Library and on Perimeter Institute Recorded Seminar Archive (PIRSA). PIRSA is a permanent, free, searchable, and citable archive of recorded seminars from relevant bodies in physics. This resource has been partially modelled after Cornell University's arXiv.org.
We are currently in the throes of a potentially huge paradigm shift in physics. Motivated by recent developments in string theory and the discovery of the so-called \'string landscape\', physicists are beginning to question the uniqueness of fundamental theories of physics and the methods by which such theories might be understsood and investigated. In this colloquium, I will give a non-technical introduction to the nature of this paradigm shift and how it developed. I will also discuss some of the questions to which it has led, and the nature of the controversies it has spawned.
The efficient computation of scattering amplitudes in quantum field theory has many important applications, ranging from the computation of QCD backgrounds at the LHC to the study of the perturbative finiteness of N=8 supergravity. \'On-shell methods\' are a crucial ingredient in the computation of gauge theory and gravity amplitudes because they are far more efficient than traditional Feynman diagram techniques. I give an introduction to the basic concepts used in this field.
I discuss our recent investigations into 2+1 dim Chern-Simons theories with gravity duals that have reduced supersymmetry. Many new phenomena such as fractional statistics arise in 2+1 dim field theory that make this duality interesting and subtle. I focus on our work involving an example of such a duality with minimal supersymmetry and propose a field theoretic dual for a long known vacuum of gauged supergravity on AdS_4. I also argue that 2+1 dim duality might present a favorable landscape for constructing non-supersymmetric conformal fixed points at large but finite N.
One of the most challenging problems in theoretical physics today is the so called cosmological constant problem. While current observations are consistent with the prediction of GR with an unexplainable tiny cosmological constant, it remains possible that it\'s the deviation of the law of gravity at large distance from Einstein\'s theory that resolves the puzzle. In this talk, I will briefly review some of the theoretical attempts we made along this line, in particular, the so called \'classically constrained gravity\' and its implications in quantum cosmology.
WMAP measurements of CMB temperature anisotropies reveal a power asymmetry: the average amplitude of temperature fluctuations in one hemisphere is larger than the average amplitude in the opposite hemisphere at the 99% confidence level. This power asymmetry may be generated during inflation by a large-amplitude superhorizon perturbation that causes the mean energy density to vary across the observable Universe.
Instead of adding another dark component to the energy budget of the Universe in trying to explain the accelerated expansion, one can ask whether the cause is in fact the laws of gravity itself on the largest scales. In this talk, I will consider a sub-class of so-called f(R) gravity theories which closely follow the LambdaCDM expansion history, while at the same time evading tight Solar System constraints on gravity. I will present new results from cosmological N-body simulations which consistently solve for the modified gravitational force.