This series consists of talks in the areas of Cosmology, Gravitation and Particle Physics.
The Baryon Acoustic Oscillations (BAO) are the latest weapon in the quest for precision cosmology and dark energy. Many presentations on BAO are complicated and unclear and I will therefore present BAO with particular emphasis on trying to give the simplest theoretical description, both at the linear and nonlinear level, and will describe some of the observational challenges to measuring BAO.
The standard theorist's model for the dynamics of galaxies is the limit of a Newtonian N-body system at fixed mass as the number of particles goes to infinity - i.e a phase space fluid After going over conventional wisdom, some interesting open issues which remain will be highlighted, and their relation to real galaxies explored.
Strongly warped regions, or throats, are a common feature of string theory compactifications. In the early, hot universe, energy will be transferred between these throats and between throats and the standard model. Using the gauge-gravity duality, we calculate the rate of this energy transfer. Due to the warping, the resulting decay rate of throat-localized Kaluza-Klein states to other throats or the standard model is strongly suppressed. If their lifetime is longer than the current age of the universe, these states are an interesting dark matter candidate.
We suggest here a mechanism for the seeding of the primordial density fluctuations. We point out that a process like reheating at the end of inflation will inevitably generate perturbations, even on superhorizon scales, by the local diffusion of energy. Provided that the final temperature is of order the GUT scale, the density contrast $\delta_R$ for spheres of radius $R$ will be of order $10^{-5}$ at horizon entry, consistent with the values measured by \texttt{WMAP}.
The black body nature of the first acoustic peak of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) was tested using foreground reduced WMAP 5-year data, by producing subtraction maps between pairs of cosmological bands, viz. the Q, V, and W bands, for masked sky areas that avoid the Galactic disk. The resulting maps revealed a non black body signal that has three main properties.
A modified version of PQCD considered in previous works is further investigated in the case of a vanishing gluon condensate, by retaining only the quark one. In this case the Green functions generating functional is expressed in a simple form in which Dirac’s delta functions are now absent from the free propagators. The new expansion implements the dimensional transmutation effect through a single interaction vertex in addition to the standard ones in mass less QCD. The results of an ongoing two loop evaluation of the vacuum energy will be presented.
The great advances in observational cosmology in the last few years have delivered us an unprecedented amount of new data. They begin to indicate with confidence that in the past our universe underwent a phase of acceleration, called inflation, and that it is currently undergoing a similar phase, usually thought of as a consequence of a cosmological constant. I will show how inflation can be probed, using to this purpose a very general effective field theory description.
The cosmological constant problem is arguably the deepest gap in our understanding of modern physics. The discovery of cosmic acceleration in the past decade and its surprising coincidence with cosmic structure formation has added an extra layer of complexity to the problem. I will describe how revisiting/revising some standard assumptions in the theory of gravity can decouple the quantum vacuum from geometry, which can potentially solve the cosmological constant problem.