This series consists of talks in the areas of Cosmology, Gravitation and Particle Physics.
Cosmological perturbations are sourced by quantum fluctuations of the vacuum during inflation. In contrast, our observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background are classical. Can we test for the quantum origins of the perturbations? How much quantum information is lost when we make these observations? Have we totally screwed up by building PLANCK, and measured the correlations in the wrong basis and hence losing the primordial quantum information for good? I will talk about all these!
We live in exciting times for cosmologists. There is a plethora of cosmological experiments that allow us to reconstruct the earliest moments in the Universe and test our ideas on how the Universe came into existence. Current data appear to favor an inflationary model that produces adiabatic, scale free, Gaussian fluctuations with an amplitude of 10^-5 in units of mK. WIthin the realm of cosmological models, it appears that such conditions are easily accomplished if we have a single light field slowly rolling down its potential.
We investigate large-scale structure formation of collisionless dark matter in the phase space description based on the Vlasov equation whose nonlinearity is induced solely by gravitational interaction according to the Poisson equation. Determining the time-evolution of density and velocity demands solving the full Vlasov hierarchy for the cumulants of the distribution function.
Recently, research in cosmology has seen a growing interest in theories of gravity beyond General Relativity (GR). From an observational point of view, there are two main reasons for this. Firstly, the law of gravity has never been directly tested on scales larger than the Solar System. Hence, by understanding better the various signatures that different gravity models can leave on cosmological observables, one can improve the chances of identifying any departures from GR, or alternatively, extend the model's observational success into a whole new regime.
Gravitational lensing of the cosmic microwave background is emerging as a useful cosmological tool. Recent measurements have been made by several experiments (including the South Pole Telescope, which will be featured), with rapidly improving precision. These measurements can be used for many purposes, including studying the connection between dark matter and galaxies on large scales, measuring the clustering of matter at z~3, and improving the precision of possible measurements of gravitational radiation from inflation.
The simplest flux compactifications are highly symmetric—a q-form flux is wrapped uniformly around an extra-dimensional q-sphere. I will discuss a family of solutions that break the internal SO(q+1) symmetry of these solutions down to SO(q)×Z_2, and show that often at least one of them has lower vacuum energy, larger entropy, and is more stable than the symmetric solution. I will describe the phase diagram of lumpy solutions and provide an interpretation in terms of an effective potential.
The Effective Filed Theory of Large Scale Structures provides a novel framework to analytically compute the clustering of the Large Scale Structures in the weakly non-linear regime in a consistent and reliable way. The theory that describes the long wavelength fluctuations is obtained after integrating out the short distance modes and adding suitable operators that allow to correctly reconstruct the effect of short distance fluctuations at long distances. A few observables have been computed so far, and the results are extremely promising.
By now, both black hole astrophysics and big bang cosmology are empirically well-established disciplines of physics and astronomy. They are also the only circumstances in nature where Einstein's general relativity can be seen in its full glory, and yet contain within them, its eventual and inevitable folly. Here, I will outline subtle lines evidence for why a phenomenologically successful description of big bang cosmology and black hole horizons may be intimately connected.
I will discuss the evolution of a quantum scalar field in a toy universe which has three stages of evolution, viz., (i) an early (inflationary) de Sitter phase (ii) radiation-dominated phase and (iii) late-time (cosmological constant dominated) de Sitter phase. Using the Schr\"odinger picture, the scalar field equations are solved separately for the three stages and matched at the transition points. The boundary conditions are chosen so that field modes in the early de Sitter phase evolve from the Bunch-Davies vacuum state.
Peculiar velocities - deviations from Hubble expansion - are the only practical probe of the growth of matter density fluctuations on very large scales in the nearby Universe. I will discuss recent measurements of quantities of cosmological interest from our group and others. One is the "bulk" flow of nearby galaxies with respect to the frame defined by the Cosmic Microwave Background, and what this tells us about fluctuations on large very spatial scales. The second is the measurement of the growth rate of fluctuations, a critical test of Lambda CDM and modified gravity models.