This series consists of talks in the areas of Cosmology, Gravitation and Particle Physics.
We show that the current accelerated expansion of the Universe can be explained without resorting to dark energy. Models of generalized modified gravity, with inverse powers of the curvature can have late time accelerating attractors without conflicting with solar system experiments. We have solved the Friedman equations for the full dynamical range of the evolution of the Universe. This allows us to perform a detailed analysis of Supernovae data in the context of such models that results in an excellent fit.
In the future it may be possible to observe the CMB radiation at very low frequencies. I review the origin of the signal from 21cm absorption by dark-age gas and explain the huge potential for observational cosmology. I summarise recent work on theoretical expectations for the observable power spectrum, including discussion of Hubble-scale perturbations, the effects of perturbed recombination and non-linear evolution.
Anthropic arguments based on selection effects for observers have been claimed to succesfully explain the measured value of the cosmological constant.In this talk I review the fundations of such claims in the context of probability theory and show that different (and equally legitimate) ways of assigning probabilities to candidate universes lead to totally different anthropic predictions. As an explicit example, I discuss a weighting scheme based on the total number of possible observations that observers can carry out over the entire lifetime of the Universe.
The possibility that rotational invariance ins broken during the inflationary era is discussed. The implications of this for the microwave background asymmetry are derived using a model independent approach. A particular inflationary model that realizes these ideas is studied.
We consider a six-dimensional space-time, in which two of the dimensions are compactified by a flux. Matter can be localized on a codimension one brane coupled to the bulk gauge field and wrapped around an axis of symmetry of the internal space. By studying the linear perturbations around this background, we show that the gravitational interaction between sources on the brane is described by Einstein 4d gravity at large distances.
The general relativity has been tested from mm scales to solar system scales. The discovery of cosmic acceleration motivates the study of infrared modification of gravity at horizon scales.
The cosmic expansion can be accelerated by dark energy without any correction to GR, but alternatively it can be explained by the modified gravity at large scales without introducing the unknown exotic energy. We introduce the linear structure formation theory of DGP and f(R) gravity, and present what it the strategy to test general relativity at cosmological scales.
Current measurements from WMAP and other cosmological probes are consistent with a simple inflationary model. Such models predict a background of gravitational waves which may soon be observable in the polarized component of the Cosmic Microwave Background.
However, WMAP has observed significant levels of polarized radiation from our galaxy, due to both synchrotron radiation and thermal dust emission.
A better understanding of this radiation will be vital if we are to correctly remove it and confidently detect an inflationary signal.
I first summarize how the recent avalanche of precision measurements involving the cosmic microwave background, galaxy clustering, the Lyman alpha forest, gravitational lensing, supernovae Ia and other tools probes has transformed our understanding of our universe. I then discuss key open problems such as the nature of dark matter, dark energy and the early universe.
Cosmology ultimately aims to explain the initial conditions at the beginning of time and the entire subsequent evolution of the universe. The "beginning of time" can be understood in the Wheeler-DeWitt approach to quantum gravity, where homogeneous universes are described by a Schroedinger equation with a potential barrier. Quantum tunneling through the barrier is interpreted as a spontaneous creation of a small (Planck-size) closed universe, which then enters the regime of cosmological inflation and reaches an extremely large size.