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.

 

Tuesday Oct 09, 2012
Speaker(s): 

Cosmic voids are potentially a rich source of information
for both astrophysics and cosmology. To enable such science, we produce the
most comprehensive void catalog to date using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data
Release 7 main sample out to redshift z = 0.2 and the Luminous Red Galaxy
sample out to z = 0.44. Using a modified version of the parameter-free void
finder ZOBOV, we fully take into account the presence of survey boundary and
masks. We discuss basic catalog statistics such as number counts and redshift

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Tuesday Oct 09, 2012
Speaker(s): 

There are many situations in cosmology that
motivate the study of scalar fields with higher-derivative actions. The best-known
such situations are probably k-inflation (with DBI-inflation being a special
case) and models based on galileon theories, but even eternal inflation and
cyclic universes provide good reasons to study such theories. After an extended
discussion of the motivations, I will show how scalar field theories with
higher derivatives can be constructed in (minimal, 4-dimensional) supergravity,

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Tuesday Oct 02, 2012
Speaker(s): 

The question of finite range gravity, or equivalently,
whether graviton can have a non-zero mass, has been one of the major challenges
in classical field theory for the last 70 years.

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Tuesday Sep 25, 2012
Speaker(s): 

We consider the stellar-dynamical processes which lead to
the capture or tidal disruption of stars by a supermassive black hole, review
the standard theory of two-body relaxation and loss-cone repopulation in
spherical galactic nuclei, and extend it to the axisymmetric and triaxial
nuclear star clusters.

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Tuesday Sep 18, 2012
Speaker(s): 

The idea that the graviton may be massive has seen a
resurgence of interest due to recent progress which has overcome its

traditional problems.  
I will review this recent progress, which has

led to a consistent ghost-free effective field theory of
a massive graviton, with a stable hierarchy between the graviton mass and the
cutoff, and how this theory has the potential to resolve the naturalness
problem of the cosmological constant.

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Tuesday Sep 11, 2012
Speaker(s): 

The spectrum of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) is known to be extremely close to a perfect blackbody. However, even within standard cosmology several processes occurring in the early Universe lead to distortions of the CMB at a level that might become observable in the future. This could open an exciting new window to early Universe physics.

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Tuesday Sep 04, 2012
Speaker(s): 

I will describe a new, generic mechanism for realizing a
period of slowly-rolling inflation through the use of an analog of 'magnetic
drift.' I will demonstrate how the mechanism works through two particular
worked examples: Chromo-Natural Inflation, which exists as a purely 4D
effective theory, and a version that can appear naturally in string theory.

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Tuesday Aug 14, 2012
Speaker(s): 

I will introduce the theory and experimental technique of extra-solar planet observation by the gravitational microlensing and give a report on recent results. Then I will discuss the wave optics features in the gravitational microlensing, the analogy of this effect in the astronomical scales to the Young's double slit experiment. Finally I will discuss about the possibility of observation of diffraction patterns in the microlensing experiment.

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Tuesday Aug 07, 2012
Speaker(s): 

Tidal stripping of dark matter from subhalos falling into the Milky Way produces narrow, cold tidal streams as well as more spatially extended ``debris flows'' in the form of shells, sheets, and plumes.Here we focus on the debris flow in the Via Lactea II simulation, and show that this incompletely phase-mixed material exhibits distinctive high velocity behavior. Unlike tidal streams, which may not necessarily intersect the Earth's location, debris flow is spatially uniform at 8 kpc and thus guaranteed to be present in the dark matter flux incident on direct detection experiments.

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Thursday Jul 26, 2012

We discuss the shortcomings of Einstein gravity at both the classical and quantum levels. We discuss the motivation for replacing Einstein gravity by conformal gravity. We show how the conformal gravity theory is able to naturally solve the quantum gravity problem, the vacuum zero-point energy problem, the vacuum zero-point pressure problem, the cosmological constant problem, and the dark matter problem.

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