High Energy Theory Lunchtime Seminar

semester, 2018


Friday, January 26th 2018
Speaker: Jorn Kersten (Bergen U., Norway)
Subject: Late Kinetic Decoupling and Self-Interacting Dark Matter

The cosmological LambdaCDM standard model faces some problems related to the formation of structures at relatively small scales, most notably the missing-satellites problem, the cusp-core problem, the too-big-to-fail problem, and the diversity problem. I will advertise late kinetic decoupling of dark matter as a mechanism to address the missing satellites problem. Afterwards, I will describe a model involving self-interacting dark matter and sterile neutrinos that can tackle all four small-scale problems.


Friday, February 2nd 2018
Speaker: Liliana Velasco-Sevilla (Bergen U., Norway)
Subject: How multi-Higgs Physics Could Uncover the Nature of Flavour

Friday, February 9th 2018
Speaker: Robert Lasenby (Perimeter)
Subject: Searching for Weakly Coupled New Particles with Stellar Cooling

Many theories of beyond Standard Model physics include new light, weakly-coupled particles, which can be challenging to search for experimentally. The high densities and temperatures in stellar cores allow them to produce such particles in large numbers, while the large volume to surface area ratio of stars enhances the relative effects of such production on stellar energy transfer and cooling. This makes stellar observations into a sensitive probe of new particles. I’ll describe how the plasma environment in stellar cores can parametrically alter the rates for these processes, and how this can significantly change the constraints and discovery potential for some new particle candidates. I’ll also discuss some other situations where in-medium effects are important in the search for weakly-coupled new physics.


Friday, February 16th 2018
Speaker: No seminar this week

Friday, February 23rd 2018
Speaker: Daniel Chung (U. Wisconsin, Madison)
Subject: Searching for Axionic Blue Isocurvature Perturbations

If the Peccei-Quinn symmetry breaking field is displaced from its minimum
during inflation, the axion isocurvature spectrum is generically strongly
blue tilted with a break transition to a flat spectrum. A test of this
scenario with the Planck and BOSS DR11 data will be presented. Encouraging
results and its implications for future probes of axions and inflationary
cosmology will be discussed.


Friday, March 2nd 2018
Speaker: Andrew Spray, (IBS, Daejon, Korea)
Subject: Constraints and Phenomenology of Semi-Annihilating Dark Matter

Semi-annihilation describes processes with an initial state of two dark matter particles, and a final state of one plus standard model states. It is a generic feature of dark matter whenever the symmetry group enforcing stability is not a discrete Z2. Semi-annihilation changes the expected signals in current dark matter searches. With the bounds on standard thermal dark matter becoming very strong, now is the ideal time to ask to what extent those bounds apply to semi-annihilation, and what interesting parameter space remains. In this talk, explore the parameter space in a generic, bottom-up approach. We discuss the subtleties involved with semi-annihilation of fermionic dark matter, the role of additional unstable dark sector particles, and the interplay of semi-annihilation and the non-perturbative Sommerfeld effect. We discuss how semi-annihilation may relate to various anomalies seen in cosmic ray searches. Finally, we use an effective field theory approach to place limits in as model-independent a fashion as possible. We find that current searches are effective for processes with coloured final states, but significant model space for semi-annihilation still remains.


Friday, March 9th 2018
Speaker: Stephen Martin (Northern Illinois U.)
Subject: Quasi-fixed points from scalar sequestering in supersymmetry

The little hierarchy problem of supersymmetry has to do with the question of why the electroweak breaking scale is small compared to the increasingly stringent lower limits on superpartner masses from the LHC. I discuss the possibility of addressing this problem by using hidden sector superconformal renormalization effects. This drives the soft supersymmetry breaking scalar squared mass terms in the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model towards quasi-fixed points in the infrared. I discuss the features of such models, and the extent to which the quasi-fixed point effects may ameliorate the little hierarchy problem.


Friday, March 16th 2018
SPRING BREAK - No seminar this week

Friday, March 23rd 2018
Speaker: Gokce Basar (U. Illinois, Chicago)
Subject: Going with the flow: a solution to the sign problem

I will explore the generalization of the Feynman path integral in quantum field theory to complexified fields, and explain how it can be utilized to tackle the famous "sign problem". The sign problem prevents first principle studies of real-time dynamics and finite density systems via lattice field theory and appears in many different areas in physics. I will discuss both conceptual and computational aspects of this idea and give examples of several interacting quantum field theories where it successfully solves the sign problem.


Friday, March 30th 2018
Speaker: Hooman Davoudiasl (Brookhaven)
Subject: Long Range Dark Matter Forces and New Views on Old Problems

We entertain the possibility that a long range force may act on dark matter. The potential coupling of this force to baryons and leptons could lead to new ways of thinking about some of the open questions in particle physics. Here, we mainly focus on scalar forces with various coupling strengths and ranges and examine some of the ways in which they can affect interpretations of dark matter direct detection, neutrino oscillations, or cosmological data.


Friday, April 6th 2018
Speaker: Elena Caceres (U. Texas, Austin)
Subject: Rotating Traversable Wormholes

Friday, April 13th 2018
Speaker: Kristian Jensen (San Francisco State U.)
Subject: A Zoo of Bosonization Dualities

There has been substantial progress toward establishing a landscape of non-supersymmetric dualities in three dimensions. These dualities equate Chern-Simons gauge theories coupled to matter, and relate theories of fundamental fermions to those of fundamental bosons. I will discuss a proposal for a new “master” duality between Chern-Simons theory coupled to fundamental bosons and fermions, which if correct summarizes most of these “3d bosonization” dualities.


Friday, April 20th 2018
Speaker: Nobuchika Okada (U. Alabama)
Subject: SU(5) x U(1)_X grand unification with Minimal Seesaw and Z′-portal dark matter

We propose a grand unified SU(5) x U(1)_X model, where the standard SU(5) grand unified theory is supplemented by minimal seesaw and a right-handed neutrino dark matter with an introduction of a global Z_2-symmetry. In the presence of three right-handed neutrinos (RHNs), the model is free from all gauge and mixed-gravitational anomalies. The SU(5) symmetry is broken into the Standard Model (SM) gauge group at M_GUT = 4 x 10^16 GeV in the standard manner, while the U(1)_X symmetry breaking occurs at the TeV scale, which generates the TeV-scale mass of the U(1)_X gauge boson (Z′ boson) and the three Majorana RHNs. A unique Z_2-odd RHN is stable and serves as the dark matter (DM) in the present Universe, while the remaining two RHNs work to generate the SM neutrino masses through the minimal seesaw. We investigate the Z′-portal RHN DM scenario in this model context, and find that the constraints from the DM relic abundance and the search results for a Z′ boson resonance at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are complementary to narrow down the allowed parameter region, which will be fully covered by the future LHC experiments (for the Z′ boson mass < 5 TeV). We also briefly discuss the successful implementation of baryogenesis and cosmological inflation scenarios in the present model.


Friday, April 27th 2018
Speaker: Mustafa Amin (Rice U)
Subject: Inflation Ends, What’s next ?

How did inflation end? For a broad class of "simple", observationally consistent inflationary models, I will present results regarding: (1) Nonlinear fragmentation and soliton formation in the inflaton field, (2) the equation of state of the universe after inflation. For sufficiently complex models, I will highlight some universal results from stochastic particle production during inflation and reheating, and discuss their implications for initial curvature perturbations from the early universe.


Friday, May 4th 2018
Speaker: Yanou Cui (U. California, Riverside)
Subject: Cosmic Archaeology with Gravitational Waves from Cosmic Strings

Cosmic strings are generic cosmological predictions of many extensions
of the Standard Model of particle physics, such as a U(1)- symmetry breaking phase transition in the early universe or remnants of superstring theory. Unlike other topological defects, cosmic strings can reach a scaling regime that maintains a small fixed fraction of the total energy density of the universe from a very early epoch until today. If present, they will oscillate and generate gravitational waves with a frequency spectrum that imprints the dominant sources of total cosmic energy density throughout the history of the universe. In this talk I will demonstrate that current and future gravitational wave detectors, such as LIGO and LISA, could be capable of measuring the frequency spectrum of gravitational waves from cosmic strings and discerning the energy composition of the universe at times well before primordial nucleosynthesis and the cosmic microwave background where standard cosmology has yet to be tested. This work establishes a benchmark case that gravitational waves may provide an unprecedented, powerful tool for probing the evolutionary history of the very early universe.


Wednesday, May 23rd 2018

Friday, September 14th 2018
No seminar this week.

Friday, September 21st 2018
No seminar this week.

Vainshteinfest: Insights info Quantum Field Theory

1:00 - 1:45 pm
"Monopoles versus the instanton-dyons"
Edward Shuryak
State University of New York, Stony Brook

1:45 - 2:30 pm
"Generalized state sums and quantum distillations"
Mithat Ünsal
North Carolina State University

2:30 - 3:00 pm
Coffee break

3:00 - 3:45 pm
"Comments on the Theta term in Yang-Mills theory"
Zohar Komargodski
Weizmann Institute of Science

3:45 - 4:30 pm
"The Arkady mechanism"
Cédric Deffayet
Institut d'astrophysique de Paris

ABSTRACTS:
"Monopoles versus the instanton-dyons"
Edward Shuryak
State University of New York, Stony Brook

Abstract: Magnetic monopoles explained confinement and flux tubes, unusual kinetics of quark-gluon plasma, and, recently, even observed properties of jet quenching. But in QCD-like theories there is no classical solutions of this kind. Instantons and their constituents, the instant-dyons, lead to systematic semiclassical theory, which recently explained deconfinement and Chiral phase transitions in a variety of settings. The talk will briefly review that, and focus on the nature of the so called Poisson duality, confirming that these two languages are dual to each other, and lead to the same partition function. At the end we show what does it tell us about QCD monopoles.

"Generalized state sums and quantum distillations"
Mithat Ünsal
North Carolina State University

Abstract: I describe a generalization of the notion of partition function in general quantum field theories. The thermal partition function is a state sum over the Hilbert space, which typically has non-analyticities, and can be used to study phase transitions, and thermodynamics. I will describe graded states sums which may be controllably tuned to be analytic. As such, they can be used to interpolate between weak and strong coupling regime of QFTs. I will show that this notion is useful to understand general non-perturbative aspects of quantum field theory, providing examples from 2d QFTs, and 4d QCD.

"Comments on the Theta term in Yang-Mills theory"
Zohar Komargodski
Weizmann Institute of Science

"The Arkady mechanism"
Cédric Deffayet
Institut d'astrophysique de Paris

Abstract: I will review the "Vainshtein mechanism", first formulated in
the context of massive gravity by Arkady in 1972 and now routinely used in
various theories beyond General Relativity.


Friday, September 28th 2018
Speaker: Vladimir Rosenhaus (IAS)
Subject: SYK and Conformal Field Theory

Friday, October 5th 2018
Speaker: Daniel Harlow (MIT)
Subject: Symmetries in Quantum Field Theory and Quantum Gravity

I describe recent work with Hirosi Ooguri using AdS/CFT to prove a series of old conjectures about symmetries in quantum gravity. Along the way I will clarify several subtleties about how global and gauge symmetries are defined in quantum field theory.


Friday, October 12th 2018
Speaker: Bhupal Dev (Washington U.)
Subject: New Physics at Neutrino Telescopes

The recent observation of high-energy neutrinos at the IceCube neutrino telescope has opened a new era in neutrino astrophysics. Understanding all aspects of these events is very important for both Astrophysics and Particle Physics ramifications. In this talk, I will discuss a few possible new physics scenarios, such as dark matter, leptoquarks and supersymmetry, that could be probed using the IceCube data. I will also relate this to the puzzling observation of two upgoing EeV events recently made by the ANITA experiment that were not seen by IceCube.


Friday, October 19th 2018
Speaker: Emilian Dudas (Ecole Polytechnique)
Subject: Hidden symmetries and Goldstone bosons from higher dimensions?

Free massless scalars have a shift symmetry. This is usually broken by interactions, such that quantum corrections induce a quadratically divergent mass term. In the Standard Model this leads to the hierarchy problem, the question why the Higgs mass is so much smaller than the Planck mass. We present an example where a large scalar mass term is avoided by coupling the scalar to an infinite tower of massive states, obtained from a six-dimensional theory compactified on a torus with magnetic flux. We show that the shift symmetry of the scalar is preserved in the effective four-dimensional theory despite the presence of gauge and Yukawa interaction terms.


Friday, October 26th 2018
Speaker: Steven Gubser (Princeton)
Subject: From p-adic AdS/CFT to prospects in cold atoms

p-adic AdS/CFT is a version of the gauge-gravity duality where the boundary theory is defined over the p-adic numbers and the bulk is a discrete graph. A variant of p-adic field theories has emerged from recently proposed cold atom experiments based on sparse couplings. I will explain how a simplified version of these theories interpolates between an ordinary continuum field theory and p-adic field theory as a spectral exponent is dialed.


Friday, November 2nd 2018
Speaker: Anson Hook (U. Maryland)
Subject: TBA

Friday, November 9th 2018
Speaker: Keisuke Harigaya (IAS, Princeton)
Subject: TBA

Friday, November 16th 2018
Speaker: Alba Grassi (SCGP Stony Brook)

Friday, November 23rd 2018
Subject: NO SEMINAR - THANKSGIVING

Friday, November 30th 2018
Speaker: Jaroslav Trnka (UC Davis)

Friday, December 7th 2018
Speaker: K. S. Babu (Oklahoma State U.)
Subject: TBA

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