This series consists of talks in areas where gravity is the main driver behind interesting or peculiar phenomena, from astrophysics to gravity in higher dimensions.
Gravitational waves (GW) imprint apparent Doppler shifts on the frequency of photons propagating between an emitter and detector of light. This forms the basis of a method to detect mHz GW using Doppler velocimetry between pairs of satellites . The crucial component in such GW detectors is the frequency standard on board the emitting and receiving satellites. I will discuss how recent developments in atomic clock technology have led to devices that could be sufficiently sensitive to probe astrophysically interesting sources.
Generic binary black holes have spins that are misaligned with their orbital angular momentum. When the binary separation between the black holes is large compared to their gravitational radii, the timescale on which the spins precess is much shorter than the radiation-reaction time on which the orbital angular momentum decreases due to gravitational-wave emission. We use conservation of the total angular momentum and the projected effective spin on the precession time to derive an effective potential for BBH spin precession.
With recent advancement of experimental physics, macroscopic objects, which are typically well-described by classical physics, can now be isolated so well from their environment, that their quantum uncertainties can be studied quantitatively. In the research field called “optomechanics”, mechanical motions of masses from picograms to kilograms are being prepared into nearly pure quantum states, and observed at time scales ranging from nanoseconds to milliseconds.
In AdS/CFT, the HRT prescription relates the entanglement entropy of a region of a CFT to the area of an extremal surface in the dual AdS spacetime. But there exists a class of spacetimes in which the HRT prescription is ill-defined. These spacetimes consist of planar AdS wormholes containing an inflating region. I will introduce these so-called AdS-dS-wormholes, discuss how the HRT prescription fails in them, and suggest possible modifications to remedy the problem.
One version of the membrane paradigm states that as far as outside observers are concerned, black holes can be replaced by a dissipative membrane with simple physical properties located at the stretched horizon. We demonstrate that such a membrane paradigm is incomplete in several aspects. We argue that it generically fails to capture the massive quasinormal modes, unless we replace the stretched horizon by the exact event horizon, and illustrate this with a scalar field in a BTZ black hole background.
A prime challenge to our understanding of galaxy formation concerns the scarcity of dwarf galaxies compared with the numerous low-mass halos expected in the current ΛCDM paradigm. This is usually accounted for by assuming that energetic feedback from evolving stars confines dwarf galaxy formation to relatively massive halos spanning a narrow mass range. I will highlight a number of observations that may be used to test this assumption and discuss the puzzles and challenges that arise from this analysis.
In the context of gauge/gravity duality, it has been suggested that the far-from equilibrium strongly coupled dynamics encountered in ultrarelativistic heavy-ion collisions may be modelled as the collisions of black holes in asymptotic anti-de-Sitter spacetimes. I will present results from the evolution of spacetimes that describe the merger of asymptotically global AdS black holes in 5D with an SO(3) symmetry.
There are about nine astrophysical black holes with measurements of the black hole's spin via the continuum fitting method. Several of these black holes drive powerful jets, which appear to extract the black hole's rotational energy. I will discuss the theory behind these observations, with a particular focus on the black hole membrane paradigm. The membrane paradigm is useful on a practical level for understanding black hole jets. However, it may also be related to fundamental physics through holography and AdS/CFT.
General relativity enjoys phenomenal success in agreeing with experiments and observations, but it must break down at some point. Astrophysics can give guidance for what type of theory may correct general relativity, if we know which phenomenology to look for. I will discuss the possible corrections to the structure of compact objects, the binary problem, and observations with pulsar timing and gravitational wave detection.
Plasma-filled magnetospheres can extract energy from a spinning black hole and provide the power source for a variety of observed astrophysical phenomena. These magnetospheres are described by the highly nonlinear equations of force-free electrodynamics, or FFE. Typically these equations can only be solved numerically. In this talk I will explain how to analytically obtain several infinite families of exact solutions of the full nonlinear FFE equations very near the horizon of a maximally spinning black hole, where the energy extraction takes place.