This series covers all areas of research at Perimeter Institute, as well as those outside of PI's scope.
In 2015 the LIGO detectors observed gravitational waves from two distinct stellar-mass binary black hole mergers. This long awaited feat now opens avenues to explore astrophysical questions which cannot, or are difficult to, be answered purely by electromagnetic means. Massive stars which end their lives in a pair-instability supernova are not thought to leave a remnant behind, meaning there should exist a gap in the black hole mass spectrum. In this talk I will discuss whether LIGO observations can tell us something about this apparent mass gap.
Galaxy mergers are a standard aspect of galaxy formation and evolution, and most (likely all) large galaxies contain supermassive black holes. As part of the merging process, the supermassive black holes should in-spiral together and eventually merge, generating both continuous gravitational waves and a background of gravitational radiation in the nanohertz to microhertz regime. An array of precisely timed pulsars spread across the sky can form a galactic-scale gravitational wave detector in the nanohertz band.
The spectral action functional of noncommutative geometry provides a model of Euclidean (modified) gravity, possibly coupled to matter. The terms in the large energy asymptotic expansion of the spectral action can be computed via pseudodifferential calculus. In the case of highly symmetric spacetimes, like Robertson-Walker metrics and Bianchi IX gravitational instantons, there is a richer arithmetic structure in the spectral action, and the terms in the asymptotic expansion are expressiblein terms of periods of motives and of modular forms.
By a celebrated theorem of Jacob Lurie, an extended TQFT is entirely determined by what it assigns to a point. It is natural to ask whether this theorem applies to TQFTs of physical interest. And, if yes, what do these theories assign to a point? In this talk, I will propose an answer for the case of 3-dimensional Chern-Simons theory. I will then
explore the relation to line defects in chiral WZW models, and boundary conditions for full WZW models. At last, I will present a conjectural classification of the above mentioned line defects and boundary conditions.
Laser-cooled trapped ions are among the most versatile experimental platforms for exploring quantum information. In this talk, I will give a brief overview of this system and its capabilities to simulate non-trivial interacting quantum models. Internal states of these ions, such as hyperfine states, constitute well isolated qubit (or spin-1/2) states, with quantum coherence demonstrated up to fifteen minutes. Individual qubits states can be detected by laser beams with near perfection.
The discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC in 2012 was a watershed in particle physics. Its existence focuses attention on the outstanding questions about physics beyond the Standard Model: is `empty' space unstable? what is the dark matter? what is the origin of matter? what is the explanation for the small masses of the neutrinos? how is the hierarchy of mass scales in physics established and stabilized? what drove inflation?
Black holes of 1 million to 20 billion solar masses have been found at the centers of galaxies.
Conformal Field Theory (CFT) describes the long-distance
dynamics of numerous quantum and statistical many-body systems. The
long-distance limit of a many-body system is often so complicated that
it is hard to do precise calculations. However, powerful new
techniques for understanding CFTs have emerged in the last few years,
based on the idea of the Conformal Bootstrap. I will explain how the
Bootstrap lets us calculate critical exponents in the 3d Ising Model
to world-record precision, how it explains striking relations between
In this talk, I will focus on cosmologies that replace the big bang with a big bounce. I will explain how, in these scenarios, the large-scale structure of the universe is determined during a contracting phase before the bounce and will describe the recent development of the first well-behaved classical (non-singular) cosmological bounce solutions.