This series covers all areas of research at Perimeter Institute, as well as those outside of PI's scope.
The nature of an unusual class of cosmic X-ray source, dubbed "Anomalous X-ray Pulsars," was a mystery since 1982 when the first example was discovered. In this talk, I will show the recent observational evidence that unambiguously links them with another equally exotic class of object, the explosive "Soft Gamma Repeaters." The evidence todate strongly supports the picture that both are "magnetars:" isolated young neutron stars having surface magnetic fields ~1000 times greater than those in conventional neutron stars.
Boundary conformal field theory finds applications not only to high energy physics but also to condensed matter systems containing quantum impurities, whose world lines can sometimes be modelled as boundaries of 2-dimensional space-time. This technique leads to exact predictions for the low temperature behaviour of gated semi-conductor quantum dot devices which have been recently confirmed experimentally. I will give a non-technical overview of both the theory and the experiments.
We discuss motivations, observational constraints and consequences of modifying the fundamental laws of gravity at large distances. Such modifications of gravity can be the reason for the observed late-time acceleration of the Universe, and can be differentiated from conventional dark energy via precision cosmology. The inevitable additional polarizations of graviton lead to observably large perihelion precession of the Lunar and Martian orbits. These theories also have potentially observable consequences at LHC .
Weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) are excellent candidates
for cold dark matter. After the first millisecond, WIMPs have
decoupled from standard model matter, both chemically and
kinetically, they enter the free streaming regime and the formation
of cosmic structure begins. Another 40 million years pass before the
typical first structures enter the nonlinear regime and collapse to
the first WIMPy halos. Therefore, it has been assumed that structure
formation is insensitive to the WIMP field theory and can be
We consider the hypothesis that quantum mechanics is an approximation to another, cosmological theory, accurate only for the description of subsystems of the universe. Quantum theory is then to be derived from the cosmological theory by averaging over variables which are not internal to the subsystem, which may be considered non-local hidden variables. I will explain the motivation for this view, give some examples of theories of this kind and investigate general conditions for such an approach to succeed.
Conventional wisdom holds that the majority of high energy atomic nuclei ("cosmic rays") that continually rain upon the Earth originate in galactic supernova shock waves, although some different (likely extragalactic) origin must be invoked to explain the highest energy particles. Despite many decades of intensive research on the subject, only indirect clues to these ideas exist at present. Direct measurements of the spectrum and mass composition of high energy cosmic rays are needed to validate these notions, but are hampered by rapidly dwindling fluxes with energy.
Traditional quantum state tomography requires a number of measurements that grows exponentially with the number of qubits n. But using ideas from computational learning theory, I'll show that "for most practical purposes" one can learn a quantum state using a number of measurements that grows only linearly with n. I'll discuss applications of this result in experimental physics and quantum computing theory, as well as possible implications for the foundations of quantum mechanics. quant-ph/0608142
I will first argue that the notion of black hole entropy extends universally to causal horizons. Then I will deduce the causal dynamics of spacetime from the equilibrium thermodynamics of causal horizons. Specifically, it will be shown how the Clausius relation dS = dQ/T between entropy change, energy flux, and acceleration temperature for all local causal horizons implies the Einstein equation, with Newton's constant determined by the universal horizon entropy density. Implications, non-equilibrium processes, and relations to AdS/CFT duality will also be discussed.
How should we think about quantum computing? The usual answer to this question is based on ideas inspired by computer science, such as qubits, quantum gates, and quantum circuits. In this talk I will explain an alternate geometric approach to quantum computation. In the geometric approach, an optimal quantum computation corresponds to "free falling" along the minimal geodesics of a certain Riemannian manifold.