This series consists of talks in the areas of Cosmology, Gravitation and Particle Physics.
Current and near-future cosmological surveys can provide powerful tests of gravity on the largest scales. However, in order to extract this information, it is essential to understand the host of parameter degeneracies which may arise. I present two approaches towards this goal, with a focus on the use of weak gravitational lensing measurements in combination with other probes. First, I discuss a novel expression for a weak lensing power spectrum under alternative theories of gravity.
On small scales, our understanding of dark matter in galaxies is incomplete. One example is that high resolution simulations predict a large number of subhalos in dark matter halos, which should be seen in our Milky Way galaxy as a host of satellite galaxies. Many plausible astrophysical mechanisms have been proposed to explain why we don't clearly see large numbers of such satellite galaxies, but this remains a test of the cold dark matter scenario that has yet to be passed.
Eugenio Bianchi and Matteo Smerlak have found a beautiful relationship between the Hawking radiation energy and von Neumann entropy in a conformal field emitted by a semiclassical two-dimensional black hole. Shohreh Abdolrahimi and I compared this relationship with what might be expected for unitary evolution of a quantum black hole in four and higher dimensions.
High resolution CMB experiments, such as ACT, SPT, and the Planck satellite are making precision measurements of the secondary anisotropies caused by the thermal Sunyaev Zel'dovich (tSZ) effect from galaxy clusters. However, our ability to obtain cosmological information from this tSZ signal is limited by our theoretical understanding of the baryons in clusters and groups. I will discuss how cross correlation methods are providing new windows into the messy “Gastrophysics” of the intracluster medium and the potential for these methods to constrain various cosmological parameters.
Understanding the physics of galaxy formation is arguably among the greatest problems in modern astrophysics. Recent cosmological simulations have demonstrated that "feedback" by star formation, supernovae and active galactic nuclei appears to be critical in obtaining realistic disk galaxies, to slow down star formation to the small observed rates, to move gas and metals out of galaxies into the intergalactic medium, and to balance radiative cooling of the low-entropy gas at the centers of galaxy clusters.
Photometric surveys are often larger and extend to fainter magnitudes than spectroscopic samples, and can therefore yield more precise cosmological measurements. However, photometric data are significantly contaminated by multiple sources of systematics, either intrinsic, observational, or instrumental. These systematics affect the properties of the raw images in complex ways, propagate into the final catalogues, and create spurious spatial correlations.