Perimeter Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of three new Faculty members. In making the announcement, Institute Director Neil Turok said, "We are thrilled that three fantastic young physicists will be joining the Faculty at Perimeter Institute. They bring a vast range of complementary expertise to the PI community, from astrophysics, cosmology and black holes to quantum field theory and strongly quantum systems. Afshordi, Boyle and Vieira have already demonstrated exceptional creativity, energy and insight. We hope Perimeter will provide them with the best possible research environment within which to pursue important new discoveries."
Dr. Niayesh Afshordi will join Perimeter as an Associate Faculty member in Cosmology, and will hold a joint appointment with the University of Waterloo. Dr. Afshordi is also on the faculty of Perimeter Scholars International, and will co-teach the Cosmology Review with Dr. Neil Turok this fall. Dr. Afshordi completed his PhD at Princeton under the supervision of David Spergel. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Theory and Computation (ITC) at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics from 2004-2007. He then joined Perimeter as a Distinguished Research Fellow.
Dr. Afshordi’s research concerns Astrophysics, Cosmology, and the physics of gravity, with particular focus on observational findings that can help address problems in fundamental physics. In particular, he has found anomalous signatures of dark energy and dark baryons in the cosmic microwave background radiation. With collaborators, he has also developed a new theory for an incompressible dark energy, named cuscuton. Among other topics, his current research is focused on solving the cosmological constant problem through a new theory of gravity that may relate the formation of astrophysical black holes to the current acceleration of cosmic expansion. In a related inquiry, he is also exploring the relation of cuscuton and quantum gravity.
Dr. Latham Boyle will join Perimeter as a junior Faculty Member in Cosmology in January, 2010. He received his PhD in physics in 2006 from Princeton University, under the direction of Paul Steinhardt. Since 2006, Dr. Boyle has held a Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA) Postdoctoral Fellowship; he is also a Junior Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR).
Dr. Boyle’s research concerns early universe cosmology–the scientific and mathematical study of how the universe began and what took place during the first moments after the Big Bang. His work has centered on understanding what, precisely, we can learn about the early universe by measuring primordial gravitational waves. With Paul Steinhardt, he has derived a series of "inflationary bootstrap relations" that, if confirmed observationally, would provide compelling observational support for inflation. He has co-developed a simple algebraic technique for understanding what happens when two black holes spiral inward and merge into a single hole. He is currently working on several projects: a new approach to observing the highly curved spacetime in the vicinity of a black hole; a new scheme for detecting gravitational waves; and an extension of the standard model of particle physics, as reformulated by Chamseddine and Connes.
Dr. Pedro Vieira joins the Institute as a Junior Faculty member in the Strings program. He comes to Perimeter from the Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationphysik (Albert Einstein Institute) in Potsdam, Germany, where he has been a Junior Scientist since 2008. Dr. Vieira completed his PhD at the École Normale Supérieure Paris and the Centro de Fisica do Porto, Universidade do Porto, under the supervision of Vladimir Kazakov and Miguel Sousa Costa.
Dr. Vieira’s research concerns the development of new mathematical techniques for Gauge and String theories, ultimately aiming toward the solution of a realistic four-dimensional gauge theory. Using integrability techniques he and his collaborators have recently made significant progress in computing, for the first time, the exact (planar) spectrum of a remarkable holographic duality between a theory of gravity and field theory known as the AdS/CFT correspondence. This work may yield new insights into both gauge theories and quantum gravity, and for theoretical calculations of scattering amplitudes in particle physics.