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.
We consider pure three dimensional quantum gravity with a negative cosmological constant. The torus partition function can be computed exactly as a sum over geometries, including all known quantum corrections. The answer provides important clues about the structure of quantum gravity; in particular, in order for the theory to be a proper quantum mechanical system some extra ingredients are needed beyond the usual real geometries considered in general relativity. One possiblity is that complex geometries need to be included; this leads to holomorphically factorized partition functions.
I discuss the status of Quantum Gravity Phenomenology, focusing separately on the 3 key areas: ability to discover, ability to constrain, and ability to falsify. And I stress the importance of adopting carefully taylored test theories as a remedy to difficulties encountered when comparing experimental evidence to theory evidence.
I discuss how physics beyond the Planck scale and before inflation might leave an imprint on the primordial spectrum. There are interesting limitations connected with the information paradox that suggests unexpected new ways to test ideas on quantum gravity.
We use the example of inflationary physics to discuss the possibility that short distance physics might be imprinted on long-distance observables. In particular, we focus on issues involving decoupling in field theory.
What if the second law of thermodynamics, in the hierarchy of physical laws, were at the same level as the fundamental laws of mechanics, such as the great conservation principles? What if entropy were an intrinsic property of matter at the same level as energy is universally understood to be? What if irreversibility were an intrinsic feature of the microscopic dynamical law of all physical objects, including an individual qubit or qudit?
If string theory is the correct theory which unifies gravity with the other forces of nature at a quantum level, it should determine the evolution of the earliest stages of the universe. I will discuss how stringy signatures of this early phase may be visible in current cosmological observations.