This series consists of talks in the areas of Cosmology, Gravitation and Particle Physics.
If the universe is a quantum mechanical system it has a quantum state. This state supplies a probabilistic measure for alternative histories of the universe. During eternal inflation these histories typically develop large inhomogeneities that lead to a mosaic structure on superhorizon scales consisting of homogeneous patches separated by inflating regions. As observers we do not see this structure directly. Rather our observations are confined to a small, nearly homogeneous region within our past light cone.
In this talk I will discuss a new class of cosmological scalar fields. Similarly to gravity, these theories are described by actions linearly depending on second derivatives. The latter can not be excluded without breaking the generally covariant formulation of the action principle. Despite the presence of these second derivatives the equations of motion are of the second order. Hence there are no new pathological degrees of freedom.
I will present analytic solutions to a class of cosmological models described by a canonical scalar field minimally coupled to gravity and experiencing self interactions through a hyperbolic potential. Using models and methods of solution inspired by 2T-physics, I will show how analytic solutions can be obtained including radiation and spacial curvature. Among the analytic solutions, there are many interesting geodesically complete cyclic solutions, both singular and non-singular ones.
Reducing a higher dimensional theory to a 4-dimensional effective theory results in a number of scalar fields describing, for instance, fluctuations of higher dimensional scalar fields (dilaton) or the volume of the compact space (volume modulus). But the fields in the effective theory must be constructed with care: artifacts from the higher dimensions, such as higher dimensional diffeomorphisms and constraint equations, can affect the identification of the degrees of freedom. The effective theory including these effects resembles in many ways cosmological perturbation theory.
The existence of concentric low variance circles in the CMB sky, generated by black-hole encounters in an aeon preceding our big bang, is a prediction of the Conformal Cyclic Cosmology. Detection of three families of such circles in WMAP data was recently reported by Gurzadyan & Penrose (2010). We reassess the statistical significance of those circles by comparing with Monte Carlo simulations of the CMB sky with realistic modeling of the anisotropic noise in WMAP data.
We show that, in a model of modified gravity based on the spectral action functional, there is a nontrivial coupling between cosmic topology and inflation, in the sense that the shape of the possible slow-roll inflation potentials obtained in the model from the nonperturbative form of the spectral action are sensitive not only to the geometry (flat or positively curved) of the universe, but also to the different possible non-simply connected topologies.
For nearly the past century, the nature of dark matter in the Universe has puzzled astronomers and physicists. During the next decade, experiments will determine if a substantial amount of the dark matter is in the form of non-baryonic, Weakly-Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs). In this talk I will discuss and interpret modern limits on WIMP dark matter from a variety of complementary methods. I will show that we are just now obtaining sensitivity to probe the parameter space of cosmologically-predicted WIMPs created during the earliest epoch in the Universe.
The availability of high precision observational data in cosmology means that it is possible to go beyond simple descriptions of cosmic inflation in which the expansion is driven by a single scalar field. One set of models of particular interest involve the Dirac-Born-Infeld (DBI) action, arising in string cosmology, in which the dynamics of the field are affected by a speed limit in a manner akin to special relativity. In this talk, I will introduce a scalar-tensor theory in which the matter component is a field with a DBI action.
While understanding the evolution of galaxies is one of the major themes of
contemporary astronomy, most empirical studies focus only on the evolution
of distribution functions (e.g., the luminosity function), effectively
treating galaxies in isolation. The new generation of large imaging and
I will discuss a powerful way to examine the nature of dark energy using a measurement of the growth of galaxy clusters over cosmic time. A novel technique that uses the Cosmic Microwave Background as a backlight allows the detection of galaxy clusters out to the time of their first formation. Using this technique, I will present the first constraints on cosmological parameters obtained with the Atacama Cosmology Telescope, as well as exciting prospects for the future.