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Cosmology & Gravitation

This series consists of talks in the areas of Cosmology, Gravitation and Particle Physics.

Seminar Series Events/Videos

Currently there are no upcoming talks in this series.

 

Thursday Mar 09, 2017
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Current constraints on spatial curvature demonstrate it to be dynamically negligible at late times. However, neglecting it as a cosmological parameter would be premature, as it offers a valuable test of eternal inflation models and probes novel large-scale structure phenomena.

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Tuesday Mar 07, 2017
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Pulsars are some of physics and astrophysics’ most exotic objects, and they have already earned two Nobel Prizes. We currently know of about 2500 of them in our Galaxy, but a small subset, the millisecond pulsars (MSPs), are truly remarkable. These systems are notoriously hard to detect, yet their numbers have more than doubled in the past 5 years via surveys using the world’s most sensitive

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Thursday Feb 23, 2017
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Despite varying speed of light theories (VSL) should be considered as another type of alternative gravity theories with an extra scalar degree of freedom, their formulation causes the problems in view of breaking the light principle and relativity principle. Besides, there are a couple of physical contexts in which c plays the crucial role and it is uncertain that it has the same meaning everywhere. During my talk I will discuss some basic theoretical formulations of varying c theories and discuss their benefits as well as problems.

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Tuesday Feb 21, 2017
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We are currently entering the era of precision CMB polarization observations. The most exciting scientific targets are a possible detection of primordial gravitational waves and a measurement of the sum of the neutrino masses. The former depends on the extensive landscape of early Universe models, while the latter has been forecasted to present a clear, and reachable, scientific target. First, if large angular B modes are detected, we should firmly establish that these are sourced by primordial gravitational waves.

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Tuesday Jan 31, 2017
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Astrophysical black hole candidates, although long thought to have a horizon, could be horizonless ultra-compact objects. This intriguing possibility is motivated by the black hole information paradox and a plausible fundamental connection with quantum gravity. In this talk I will consider the asymptotically free quadratic gravity as the UV completion of general relativity. Using a classical theory that captures its main features, we find that sufficiently dense matter produces a novel horizonless solution, the 2-2-hole.

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Thursday Jan 19, 2017
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I will present a recent analysis of the Planck 2015 data that is complete in the reionization observables from large angle CMB polarization measurements using principal components (PC). By allowing for an arbitrary ionization history, this technique tests the robustness of total optical depth inferences from the usual instantaneous reionization assumption. A reliable measurement of the total optical depth is important for the interpretation of many other cosmological parameters such as the dark energy and neutrino mass.

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Tuesday Jan 17, 2017
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CHIME is a new interferometric telescope at radio frequencies 400-800 MHz.  The mapping speed (or total statistical power) of CHIME is among the largest of any radio telescope in the world, and the technology powering CHIME could be used to build telescopes which are orders of magnitude more powerful.  This breakthrough sensitivity has the power to revolutionize radio astronomy, but meeting the computational challenges will require breakthroughs on the algorithmic side.  I'll give a status update on CHIME, with an emphasis on new algorithms being developed to search fo

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Wednesday Jan 11, 2017
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Measurements of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) have proven to be a powerful probe of the physics of our universe. CMB observations are helping to address fundamental questions, such as the nature of dark energy and dark matter, and are being used to probe the physics of inflation at energies a trillion times higher than the Large Hadron Collider. Recent measurements led to several exciting first detections, including CMB lensing, massive galaxy clusters, the large-scale velocity field, and the “B-mode” component of the polarization field.

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Tuesday Dec 13, 2016
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Inflation is proposed as a means of explaining why the Universe is currently so homogeneous on larger scales, solving both the horizon and flatness problems in early universe cosmology. However, if inflation itself requires homogeneous conditions to get started, then inflation is not a solution to the horizon problem. Most work up until now has focussed on a dynamical systems approach to classifying the stability of inflationary models, but recently Numerical Relativity (NR) has been used to simulate the actual evolution of the inflaton field, leading to new insights.

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Tuesday Nov 29, 2016
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I will discuss the potential for the LISA space-based interferometer to detect the stochastic Gravitational Wave (GW) background produced from different mechanisms during inflation. In particular, I will present the GW contributions from particle production during inflation, inflationary spectator fields with varying speed of sound, effective field theories of inflation with specific patterns of symmetry breaking and models leading to the formation of primordial black holes.

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