This series covers all areas of research at Perimeter Institute, as well as those outside of PI's scope.
Modern motivations for extra spacetime dimensions will be presented, in particular the surprising AdS/CFT connection to particle compositeness. It will be shown how highly curved, "warped", extra-dimensional geometries can naturally address several puzzles of fundamental physics, including the weakness of gravity, particle mass hierarchies, dark matter, and supersymmetry breaking. The possibility of direct discovery of warped dimensions at
The progress in neutrino physics over the past ten years has been
tremendous: we have learned that neutrinos have mass and change flavor. I will pick out one of the threads of the story-- the measurement of flavor oscillation in neutrinos produced by cosmic ray showers in the atmosphere, and its confirmation in long distance beam experiments. I will present the history, the current state of knowledge, and how the next generation of high intensity beam experiments will address some of the remaining puzzles.
Among the possible explanations for the observed acceleration of the universe, perhaps the boldest is the idea that new gravitational physics might be the culprit. In this colloquium I will discuss some of the challenges of constructing a sensible phenomenological extension of General Relativity, give examples of some candidate models of modified gravity and survey existing observational constraints on this approach.
The theory of strong interactions is an elegant quantum field theory known as Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD). QCD is deceptively simple to formulate, but notoriously difficult to solve. This simplicity belies the diverse set of physical phenomena that fall under its domain, from nuclear forces and bound hadrons, to high energy jets and gluon radiation.
Shear viscosity is a transport coefficient in the hydrodynamic description of liquids, gases and plasmas. The ratio of the shear viscosity and the volume density of the entropy has the dimension of the ratio of two fundamental constants - the Planck constant and the Boltzmann constant - and characterizes how close a given fluid is to a perfect fluid. Transport coefficients are notoriously difficult to compute from first principles.
Theories of physics beyond the Standard Model predict the existence of relativistic strings, either as composite objects, or as fundamental constituents of matter. If they were created in the Big Bang, they would very likely still be present in the universe today. This talk reviews the thirty year history of cosmic strings, and describes the latest work which finds intriguing hints in the Cosmic Microwave Background data that the universe is filled with string.
Some of the speculations on new physics, beyond what is in the standard model are reviewed. Particular attention is paid to ideas that try to address the hierarchy puzzle, i.e., why is the weak scale so much smaller than the Planck scale. These new theories will be tested at the large hadron collider in the near future.
Experimentalists at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider create exploding droplets of quark-gluon plasma, the stuff which filled the universe for the first microseconds after the big bang. I'll give one theorist's perspective on what we are learning about the properties of quark-gluon plasma from these experiments, including the conclusion that it is closer to an ideal liquid than to an ideal gas and the observation that it "quenches" high energy quarks ("jets") trying to plow through it.