This series covers all areas of research at Perimeter Institute, as well as those outside of PI's scope.
Gravity in 1+1 dimension is classically trivial but, as shown by A. Polyakov in 1981, it is a non-trivial quantum theory, in fact a conformal field theory (the Liouville theory), and also a string theory. In the last decades many important results and connexions with various areas of mathematics and theoretical physics have been established, but some important issues remain to be understood.
The supermassive black hole in the centre of the Milky Way, Sgr A*, is an ideal target for testing the properties of black holes. A number of experiments are being prepared or conducted, such as the monitoring of stellar orbits, the search for radio pulsars or the recording of an image of the shadow of a event horizon. The talk puts these efforts in context with other tests of general relativity and its alternatives.
Quantum information theory has taught us that quantum theory is just one possible probabilistic theory among many others. In the talk, I will argue that this "bird's-eye" perspective does not only allow us to derive the quantum formalism from simple physical principles, but also reveals surprising connections between the structures of spacetime and probability which can be phrased as mathematical theorems about information-theoretic scenarios.
Quantum information theory has taught us that quantum theory is just one possible probabilistic theory among many others. In the talk, I will argue that this „bird’s-eye“ perspective does not only allow us to derive the quantum formalism from simple physical principles, but also reveals surprising connections between the structures of spacetime and probability which can be phrased as mathematical theorems about information-theoretic scenarios.
I will talk about the implications of the current LHC results and the Higgs discovery on the principle of Naturalness, that has been guiding particle physics for the last forty years. Then I will discuss the role that low energy experiments can play for the future of particle physics.
Gauge theories lie at the heart of our understanding of three of the four known forces in nature: the electromagnetic, weak and strong forces. Moreover, our best understood non-perturbative definition of a theory of quantum gravity is also given by a gauge theory. Yet, despite their absolutely central role in physics, gauge theories are still far from being tamed with our current theoretical tools.
Topologically ordered states, such as the fractional quantum Hall (FQH) states, are quantum states of matter with various exotic properties, including quasiparticles with fractional quantum numbers and fractional statistics, and robust topology-dependent ground state degeneracies. In this talk, I will describe a new aspect of topological states: their extrinsic defects. These include extrinsically imposed point-like or line-like defects that couple to the topological properties of the state in non-trivial ways.
Living things operate according to well-known physical laws, yet it is challenging to discern specific, non-trivial consequences of these constraints for how an organism that is a product of evolution must behave. Part of the difficulty here is that life lives very far from thermal equilibrium, where many of our traditional theoretical tools fail us. However, recent developments in nonequilibrium statistical mechanics may help light a way forward.
Recently a new and rather unexpected connection between condensed matter physics and algebraic topology has been noted. Namely, it appears that phases of matter with an energy gap, no long-range entanglement, and fixed symmetry can be classified using cobordism theory. I will exhibit several examples of this connection and describe a possible explanation.
One of the most basic but intriguing properties of quantum systems is their ability to `tunnel' between configurations which are classically disconnected. That is, processes which are classically impossible, are quantum allowed. In this talk I will outline a new, first-principles approach combining the semiclassical approximation with the concepts of post-selection and weak measurement.