Colloquium

This series covers all areas of research at Perimeter Institute, as well as those outside of PI's scope.

Seminar Series Events/Videos

Currently there are no upcoming talks in this series.

 

Wednesday Feb 02, 2011
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Cosmic strings, generic in brane inflationary models, may be detected by the current generation of gravitational wave detectors. An important source of gravitational wave emission is from isolated events on the string called cusps and kinks. I first review cosmic strings, discussing their effective action and motion, and showing how cusps and kinks arise dynamically. I then show how allowing for the motion of the strings in extra dimensions gives a potentially significant reduction in signal strength, and comment on current LIGO bounds.

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Wednesday Jan 26, 2011
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Scattering amplitudes in gauge theories and gravity have extraordinary properties that are completely invisible in the textbook formulation of quantum field theory using Feynman diagrams. In the standard approach--going back to the birth of quantum field theory--space-time locality and quantum-mechanical unitarity are made manifest at the cost of introducing huge gauge redundancies in our description of physics.

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Wednesday Jan 19, 2011
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To a first approximation, everything that happens at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN is a strong interaction process. If signals of supersymmetric particles or other new states are found at the LHC, the events that produce those signals will represent parts per trillion of the total sample of proton-proton scattering events and parts per billion of the sample of events with hard scattering of quarks and gluons. Can we predict the rates of QCD processes well enough to control their contribution to a tantalizing signal? What physics insights can assist this process?

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Wednesday Jan 12, 2011
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Graphene-like materials provide a unique opportunity to explore quantum-relativistic phenomena in a condensed matter laboratory. Interesting phenomena associated with the internal degrees of freedom, spin and valley, including quantum spin-Hall effect, have been theoretically proposed, but could not be observed so far largely due to disorder and density inhonogeneity. We show that weak magnetic field breaks the symmetries that protect flavor (spin, valley) degeneracy, and induces large bulk non-quantized flavor-Hall effect in graphene.

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Wednesday Dec 01, 2010
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Quantum error correcting codes and topological quantum order (TQO) are inter-connected fields that study non-local correlations in highly entangled many-body quantum states. In this talk I will argue that each of these fields offers valuable techniques for solving problems posed in the other one. First, we will discuss the zero-temperature stability of TQO and derive simple conditions that guarantee stability of the spectral gap and the ground state degeneracy under generic local perturbations. These conditions thus can be regarded as a rigorous definition of TQO.

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Wednesday Nov 24, 2010
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The average quantum physicist on the street believes that a quantum-mechanical Hamiltonian must be Dirac Hermitian (invariant under combined matrix transposition and complex conjugation) in order to guarantee that the energy eigenvalues are real and that time evolution is unitary. However, the Hamiltonian $H=p^2+ix^3$, which is obviously not Dirac Hermitian, has a real positive discrete spectrum and generates unitary time evolution, and thus it defines a fully consistent and physical quantum theory.

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Wednesday Nov 10, 2010
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This talk will describe the best current understanding of the interior structure of astronomically realistic black holes.
A common misconception is that matter falling into a black hole simply falls to a central singularity, and that's that.
Reality is much more interesting. Rotating black holes have not only outer horizons, but also inner horizons. Penrose (1968) first pointed out that an infaller falling through the inner horizon would see the outside Universe infinitely blueshifted, and he speculated that this would destabilize the inner horizon.

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Wednesday Nov 03, 2010
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The gravitational observatory LISA will detect radiation from massive black hole sources at cosmological distances, accurately measure their luminosity distance and help identify the electromagnetic counterparts that such sources may generate. I will describe various astrophysical scenarios for the generation of electromagnetic counterparts and discuss observational strategies aimed at identifying them. Successful identifications will enable novel studies of black hole astrophysics and cosmological physics.

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Wednesday Oct 27, 2010
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Much work on quantum gravity has focused on short-distance problems such as non-renormalizability and singularities. However, quantization of gravity raises important long-distance issues, which may be more important guides to the conceptual advances required. These include the problems of black hole information and gauge invariant observables, and those of inflationary cosmology. An overview of aspects of these problems, and apparent connections, will be given.

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Wednesday Oct 20, 2010
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A system of spins with complicated interactions between them can have many possible configurations. Many configurations will be local minima of the energy, and to get from one local minimum to another requires changing the state of very many spins. A system like this is called a spin glass, and at low temperatures tends to get caught for very long times at a local minimum of energy, rather than reaching its true ground state.

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