Since 2002 Perimeter Institute has been recording seminars, conference talks, and public outreach events using video cameras installed in our lecture theatres. Perimeter now has 7 formal presentation spaces for its many scientific conferences, seminars, workshops and educational outreach activities, all with advanced audio-visual technical capabilities. Recordings of events in these areas are all available On-Demand from this Video Library and on Perimeter Institute Recorded Seminar Archive (PIRSA). PIRSA is a permanent, free, searchable, and citable archive of recorded seminars from relevant bodies in physics. This resource has been partially modelled after Cornell University's arXiv.org.
The subject of this conference is the Quantum State --- what the hell it is. A central issue is whether quantum states describe reality (the ontic view) or an agent's knowledge of reality (the epistemic view). Advocates of the epistemic view maintain that many quantum puzzles and conundra are artifacts of an inappropriate reification of strictly epistemic concepts.
Instrumentalism about the quantum state is the view that this mathematical object does not serve to represent a component of (non-directly observable) reality, but is rather a device solely for making predictions about the results of experiments. One honest way to be such an instrumentalist is a) to take an ensemble view (= frequentism about quantum probabilities), whereby the state represents predictions for measurement results on ensembles of systems, but not individual systems and b) to assign some specific level for the quantum/classical cut.
I describe a number of techniques that allow for the generation of (near) scale-invariant fluctuations in the early Universe without inflation or ekpyrosis. The basic ingredient is a decaying maximal speed of propagation, for which a Universal law is found. Connections are made with k-essence, the cuscaton, and the DBI action. However the simplest realizations result from bimetric theories and deformed dispersion relations and DSR. A number of implications to theories of quantum gravity are discussed.
The uncertainty in the equation of state of cold matter above nuclear density is notorious. Despite four decades of neutron-star observations, recent observational estimates of neutron-star radii still range from 8 to 16 km; the pressure above nuclear density is not known to better than a factor of 5; and one cannot yet rule out the possibility that the ground state of cold matter at zero pressure might be strange quark matter -- that the term "neutron star" is a misnomer for strange quark stars.