Sarah Shandera

Sarah Shandera's picture
Pennsylvania State University - Department of Physics

Area of Research:
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Research Interests

I work on developing the theoretical picture of the very early universe, sometimes utilizing the framework of string theory. The remarkable recent progress in observational cosmology presents a sharp challenge for theorists to build successful models to explain the data. Just as importantly, ideas for a quantum theory of gravity provide an arena for cosmological scenarios, particularly inflation or alternatives, to be formulated within a consistent theory of high energy physics.

My research currently focuses on observables with the potential to radically change the 'standard' inflationary model: primordial gravitational waves and non-Gaussianity. Both are observationally accessible ways in which inflation depends sensitively on very high energy physics, demonstrating the potential of cosmology to become our best observational probe of fundamental physics. I use data from both the Cosmic Microwave Background and the growth of large structures (galaxies, galaxy clusters) to propose and constrain ideas about the physics of the earliest times and highest energies.

Positions Held

  • Sept. 2009 - present Postdoctoral Researcher, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
  • Sept. 2006 - Aug. 2009 Postdoctoral Researcher, Columbia University, Institute for Strings, Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics (ISCAP)
  • Jan. 2002 - May 2006 Teaching Assistant, Cornell University
  • May 2001 - Dec. 2001 Research Assistant, Cornell Electron Storage Ring
  • Aug. 1999 - May 2001 Research Assistant, University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Lab

Awards

  • STFC Advanced Fellowship (relinquished)
  • Robinson-Appel Humanitarian Award, Cornell University
  • Bruno Rossi Award: Outstanding Incoming Graduate Student in Physics, Cornell University
  • University of Arizona/NASA Space Grant

Recent Publications

  • J.T. Galvez Ghersi, G. Geshnizjani, F. Piazza, S. Shandera, "Eternal inflation and a thermodynamic treatment of Einstein's equations", Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, 1106:005, 2011, arXiv: 1103.0783
  • S. Shandera, N. Dalal, D. Huterer, "A generalized local ansatz and its effect on halo bias", Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 1103:017, 2011, arXiv: 1010.3722
  • C.P. Burgess, R. Holman, L. Leblond, S. Shandera, "Breakdown of Semiclassical Methods in de Sitter Space", Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 1010:017, 2010, arXiv: 1005.3551.
  • C.P. Burgess, L. Leblond, R. Holman, S. Shandera, "Super-Hubble de Sitter Fluctuations and the Dynamical RG", Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 1003:033,2010, arXiv: 0912.1608
  • S. Shandera, "The Structure of Correlation Functions in Single Field Inflation", Physical Review D, 79:123518, 2009 arXiv: 0812.0818
  • L. Leblond, S. Shandera, "Simple Bounds from the Perturbative Regime of Inflation", Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, 0808:007, 2008 arXiv: 0802.2290
  • M. LoVerde, A. Miller, S. Shandera, L. Verde, "Effects of Scale-Dependent Non-Gaussianity on Cosmological Structures", Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, 0804:014, 2008 arXiv: 0711.4126
  • M. Becker, L. Leblond, S. Shandera, "Inflation from Wrapped Branes", Physical Review D, 76:123516, 2007 arXiv: 0709.1170
  • R. Bean, S. Shandera, S.H.H. Tye, J. Xu, "Comparing Brane Inflation to WMAP", Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, 0705:004, 2007 hep-th/0702107
  • L. Leblond, S. Shandera, "Cosmology of the Tachyon in Brane Inflation", Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, 0701:009, 2007 hep-th/0610321
  • S. Shandera, S.H.H. Tye, "Observing Brane Inflation", Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, 0605:007, 2006 hep-th/0601099
  • S. Shandera, "Slow Roll in Brane Inflation", Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, 0504:011, 2005 hep-th/0412077
  • S. Shandera, B. Shlaer, H. Stoica, S.H.H. Tye, "Interbrane Interactions in Compact Spaces and Brane Inflation", Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, 0402:013, 2004 hep-th/0311207
  • J.T. Galvez Ghersi, G. Geshnizjani, F. Piazza, S. Shandera, ``Eternal inflation and a thermodynamic treatment of Einstein's equations", arXiv: 1103.0783.
  • J. Aguirre et al, "Observing the Evolution of the Universe", White Paper orgainized by NASA's Primordial Polarization Program Definition Team, arXiv: 0903.0902
  • S. Dodelson et al, "The Origin of the Universe as Revealed Through the Polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background", 2010 Decadal White Paper, arXiv: 0902.3796
  • E. Komatsu et al, "Non-Gaussianity as a Probe of the Physics of the Primordial Universe and the Astrophysics of the Low Redshift Universe", 2010 Decadal White Paper, arXiv: 0902.4759
  • D. Baumann et al, "CMBPol Mission Concept Study: Probing Inflation with CMB Polarization", arXiv: 0811.3939

Seminars

  • `New Observational Power From Halo Bias', Aspects of Inflation Workshop, Texas A&M University
  • `Galaxies, Clusters, and the Fundamental Physics of Inflation', GRAPPA, University of Amsterdam
  • `Non-Gaussianity: Fundamental Interactions and Inflation', DESY
  • Fundamental Interactions and Inflation', University of Waterloo
  • `New Observational Power From Halo Bias', Case Western Reserve University
  • `Galaxies, Clusters and the Fundamental Physics of Inflation'm Pennsylvania State University
  • `New Observational Power From Halo Bias', Cornell University
  • "Galaxies, Clusters, and the Fundamental Physics of Inflation", Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics
  • "Fundamental Interactions and Inflation", Leiden University
  • "Galaxies, Clusters, and Fundamental Physics", Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics
  • Effective Field Theory in Cosmology Workshop, Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics