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Quantum Field Theory for Cosmology

This course begins with a thorough introduction to quantum field theory. Unlike the usual quantum field theory courses which aim at applications to particle physics, this course then focuses on those quantum field theoretic techniques that are important in the presence of gravity. In particular, this course introduces the properties of quantum fluctuations of fields and how they are affected by curvature and by gravitational horizons. We will cover the highly successful inflationary explanation of the fluctuation spectrum of the cosmic microwave background - and therefore the modern understanding of the quantum origin of all inhomogeneities in the universe (see these amazing visualizations from the data of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. They display the inhomogeneous distribution of galaxies several billion light years into the universe. Organizer: Achim Kempf