This series consists of talks in the areas of Cosmology, Gravitation and Particle Physics.
I will present three ideas about black holes and cosmology. First, I will discuss a way of understanding the simple patterns which emerge from the notoriously thorny numerical simulations of binary black hole merger, and some of the directions where this understanding may lead. Second, I will suggest a sequence of practical bootstrap tests designed to give sharp observational confirmation of the essential idea underlying the inflationary paradigm: that the universe underwent a period of accelerated expansion followed by a long period of decelerated expansion.
We consider a probe codimension-2 brane inflation scenario in a warped six-dimensional flux compactification. First, we stabilise the modulus of the model by means of a cap regularisation of the codimension-2 singularities of the background solution. Then, we discuss the cosmological evolution of the world-volume of a probe codimension-2 brane when it moves along the radial direction of the internal space. In order to have slow-roll inflation, one needs the warping of the internal space to be weak, in contrast to the recent string inflation constructions with strong warping.
I will compute the probability distribution for bubble collisions in an inflating false vacuum which decays by bubble nucleation. The number of collisions in our backward lightcone can be large in realistic models without tuning. In addition, we calculate the angular position and size distribution of the collisions on the cosmic microwave background sky.
I will report results from simulations of galaxy-scale dark halos of unprecedented numerical resolution. Convergence tests demonstrate detailed convergence for (sub)structures for over six decades in mass, enabling detailed forecasts of the expected dark matter signal both in Earth-bound direct-detection experiments as well as in indirect detection experiments which attempt to image dark matter annihilation radiation in gamma rays.
Varied experimental results have recently sparked theoretical interest in the dark matter sector. I will review some of these results and the basic ideas in particle physics that might explain them, as well as some requirements for those models to work. Then I'll discuss a new model dark matter sector that can better explain many of the experimental results. I'll also mention the interesting cosmological history required in this type of model. Finally, if there's time, I'll discuss ongoing efforts at McGill to develop basic physics shared by many of the new dark matter models.
The standard cosmological framework explains an impressive range of large-scale astrophysical phenomena, but an agreement between its predictions and the properties of the dark matter halos of nearby galaxies has not been established. In this talk, I will highlight some key observables that constrain galaxy structure and some key differences between cosmological predictions and halo properties inferred from these measurements.
An astrophysical black hole is completely described with just two parameters: its mass and its dimensionless spin. A few dozen black holes have mass estimates, but until recently none had a reliable spin estimate. The first spins have now been measured for black holes in X-ray binaries.
I will discuss the possibility that a 'Wilson line' degree of freedom can play the role of an inflaton in a warped flux compactification, in the context of the DBI inflationary scenario. I will show how warped DBI Wilson line inflation offers an attractive alternative to ordinary (position field) DBI inflation, inasmuch as observational and theoretical constraints get considerably relaxed. Thus, besides the large non-Gaussianities produced in DBI scenarios, Wilson lines allow for an observable amount of gravitational waves, within consistent approximations.
We have only scratched the surface of the potential for using large-scale structure (LSS) as a probe of fundamental physics/cosmology, i.e., quantitatively, we have only measured a small fraction of a percent of the accessible LSS information. Future measurements will probe dark energy, inflation, dark matter properties, neutrino masses, modifications of gravity, etc. with unprecedented precision.
Braneworlds are a fascinating way of hiding extra dimensions by confining ourselves to live on a brane. One particular model (Randall-Sundrum) has a link to string theory via living in anti de Sitter space. I'll describe how the ads/cft correspondence has been used to claim that a braneworld black hole would tell us how Hawking radiation back reacts on spacetime, thus solving one of the outstanding problems of quantum gravity - the ultimate fate of an evaporating black hole. I'll review evidence for this conjecture, ending with some recent work that shows it may be problematic.