This series covers all areas of research at Perimeter Institute, as well as those outside of PI's scope.
I will describe the current state of our attempts to characterize the nature of the Dark Energy, the name given to the unknown phenomenology that is driving the observed accelerating cosmic expansion. There is a historical analogy between our current situation and the days of
Conformal Field Theory is the language in which we often think about strong dynamics, be that in Condensed Matter, Quantum Gravity, or Beyond the Standard Model Physics. AdS/CFT led to significant advances of our understanding. What should come next?
At the time of recombination, 400,000 years after the Big Bang, the structure of the dark matter distribution was extremely simple and can be inferred directly from observations of structure in the cosmic microwave background. At this time dark matter particles had small thermal velocities and their distribution deviated from uniformity only through a gaussian field of small density fluctuations with associated motions. Later evolution was driven purely by gravity and so obeyed the collisionless Boltzmann equation.
Many fundamental results in quantum foundations and quantum information theory can be framed in terms of information-theoretic tasks that are provably (im)possible in quantum mechanics but not in classical mechanics. For example, Bell's theorem, the no-cloning and no-broadcasting theorems, quantum key distribution and quantum teleportation can all naturally be described in this way. More generally, quantum cryptography, quantum communication and quantum computing all rely on intrinsically quantum information-theoretic advantages.
In the last many years a number of metallic solids have been studied that defy understanding within the principles of conventional textbook solid state physics. The most famous are the cuprate high temperature superconductors though many other examples have been found. In this talk I will argue that the mysterious properties of many such materials arises from an imminent `death' of their Fermi surfaces. I will discuss some theoretical ideas on how to kill a Fermi surface, and their implications for experiments.
The standard method to study nonperturbative properties of quantum field theories is to Wick rotate the theory to Euclidean space and regulate it on a Euclidean Lattice. An alternative is "fuzzy field theory". This involves replacing the lattice field theory by a matrix model that approximates the field theory of interest, with the approximation becoming better as the matrix size is increased. The regulated field theory is one on a background noncommutative space. I will describe how this method works and present recent progress and surprises.
Several current experiments probe physics in the approximation in which Planck's constant and Newton's constant may be neglected, but, the Planck mass, is relevant. These include tests of the symmetry of the ground state of quantum gravity such as time delays in photons of different energies from gamma ray bursts. I will describe a new approach to quantum gravity phenomenology in this regime, developed with Giovanni Amelino-Camelia, Jersy Kowalski-Glikman and Laurent Freidel.
Traditional condensed matter physics is based on two theories: symmetry breaking theory for phases and phase transitions, and Fermi liquid theory for metals. Mean-field theory is a powerful method to describe symmetry breaking phases and phase transitions by assuming the ground state wavefunctions for many-body systems can be approximately described by direct product states. The Fermi liquid theory is another powerful method to study electron systems by assuming that the ground state wavefunctions for the electrons can be approximately described by Slater determinants.
How many interacting quantum (field) theories of four-dimensional geometry are there which have General Relativity as their classical limit? Some of us still harbour hopes that a quantum theory of gravity is "reasonably unique", i.e. characterized by a finite number of free parameters. One framework in which such universality may manifest itself is that of "Quantum Gravity from Causal Dynamical Triangulations (CDT)".