This series consists of talks in the areas of Cosmology, Gravitation and Particle Physics.
Cosmic strings are a generic prediction of Grand Unified Theories that can leave a sufficient imprint in the Cosmic Microwave Background anisotropies to open an observational window into an otherwise unreachable high energy domain. Being formed as topological defects of a Higgs field, they are also naturally coupled to various other fields, that can lead to superconducting-like currents, hence radically changing their structure and properties.
Several mechanisms can lead to production of particles during inflation. I discuss how this phenomenon can induce a contribution to the primordial spectrum of gravitational waves with unusual properties: the tensors produced this way can violate parity; can have a large three-point function; can have a relatively large tensor-to-scalar ratio even if inflation occurs at low energies; finally, their spectrum can display a feature that can be directly detected by second-generation gravitational interferometers such as advanced LIGO.
The time variation of physical constants has been much discussed in the literature, motivated by claims of fine structure constant variations together with several theoretical ideas. Although it is well understood (by most, but not all!) cosmologists that one must consider only dimensionless constants, most discussions of the strength of gravity involve "G", which is of course dimensional. I discuss some applications of variations of "G" on cosmological observables, stressing the need to stay dimensionless. "Constants" might also vary in space.
A recently discovered class of active galactic nuclei, TeV luminous blazars, constitute a small fraction of the power output of black holes. Nevertheless, there are suggestions that unlike the UV and X-ray luminosity of quasars, the very-high energy gamma-ray emission from the TeV blazars can be thermalized on cosmological scales with order unity efficiency, resulting in a potentially dramatic heating of the low-density intergalactic medium.
I will introduce the gravitational microlensing, its application to the compact dark matter detection and the extra-solar planet observations. EROS has been performed the microlensing observation in four directions of the Galactic plane, away from the Galactic center. I will report the observational results and the interpret the data within the Standard Galactic model. As a result we extract the best fit to the dust contribution in the Galactic disk, orientation of the Galactic bar and the abundance of the red giants compare to local stellar distribution.
I'll discuss how to systematically construct a (d+2)-dimensional solution of the vacuum Einstein equations that is dual to a (d+1)-dimensional fluid satisfying the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations with specific higher-derivative corrections. The solution takes the form of a non-relativistic gradient expansion that is in direct correspondence with the hydrodynamic expansion of the dual fluid. The dual fluid has nevertheless an underlying description in terms of relativistic hydrodynamics, with the unusual property of having a vanishing equilibrium energy density.
Cosmic strings are predicted to arise in both inflationary
and non-inflationary cosmological models. The signatures of
such strings will stand out particularly well at higher
redshifts. I will discuss how to look for these signatures
in CMB redshift and polarization maps and in 21cm redshift
String theory should give a well-defined answer to the following question: What is the state of matter in the limit of infinite energy density? We use results obtained from the understanding of black hole entropy to conjecture this equation of state, noting that the maximum entropy state in string theory has vastly more entropy than the states used in traditional approaches to early Universe Cosmology. The evolution of the Universe with this equation of state can be obtained in closed form.
It is argued that the correct quantization of a scalar field theory in de Sitter spacetime involves a de Sitter invariant state which is not the Bunch-Davies vacuum. A novel but natural de Sitter invariant alternative exists and it is suggested that this and is the prefered state for scalar field theories. The argument is based on the exact solution of an interacting scalar field theory.