Theoretical Astronomy

The Higgs Boson and the Fate of the Universe

the collider detector at FermilabAbstract: The discovery of the Higgs boson at the CERN Large Hadron Collider poses new challenges to our understanding of basic quantum physics. Unless other new physics intervenes, we appear to live in a universe that is slightly unstable and will eventually decay catastrophically. Supersymmetry can stabilize the vacuum, but so far searches for superpartner particles at the LHC have come up empty.

Inflationary Cosmology with BICEPs

 BICEP South PoleHow did the universe begin ? This is one of the deepest mysteries in science. I will describe the BICEP program, a series of South Pole-based experiments aiming to answer this question by studying the polarization of cosmic microwave background radiation.

Terrestrial planet atmospheres in the aftermath of giant impacts

planetoid impacting early EarthAbstract: The final assembly of terrestrial planets is now universally thought to have occurred through a series of giant impacts, such as Earth's own Moon-forming impact. In the aftermath of one of these collisions the surviving planet is hot, and can remain hot for millions of years. The presence of a dense post-impact atmosphere will affect both the cooling of the planet and our ability to detect it. Dr.

The Quantum Origin of The Universe

GalaxiesIf the whole universe obeys the laws of quantum mechanics then the universe has a quantum state — a wave function of the universe. This state specifies how the universe started at the big bang. It provides quantum probabilities for everything that happened since. A theory of this wave function is a necessary part of any "theory of everything".

The Evolution of the Laws of Physics

time reborn book cover

Prof. Lee Smolin of the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada, author and theoretical physcist, will talk about the evolution of laws in our universe.

Conformal gravity: New light on dark matter and dark energy

dark matter Dr. Nesbet will describe (in layman's terms) implications of a theory that differs from standard particle physics and cosmology only by imposing a universal symmetry principle. This theory has been found to explain dark energy and dark galactic halos without invoking dark matter. Subgalactic phenomenology (relevant to our solar system) is retained.

Life in the Multiverse

Cosmological observations show that the universe is very uniform on the maximally large scale accessible to our telescopes, and the same laws of physics operate in all of its parts that we can see now.  The best theoretical explanation of the uniformity of our world was provided by inflationary theory, which was proposed 30 years ago.

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