Past Relativity Seminar

26 June 2018
12:00
to
13:30
Prof Abhay Ashtekar
Abstract

Over 50 years ago, Bondi, Sachs, Newman, Penrose and others laid down foundations for the theory of gravitational waves in full non-linear general relativity. In particular, numerical simulations of binary mergers used in the recent discovery of gravitational waves are based on this theory. However, over the last 2-3 decades, observations have also revealed that the universe is accelerating in a manner consistent with the presence of a positive cosmological constant $\Lambda$. Surprisingly, it turns out that even the basic notions of the prevailing theory of gravitational waves --the Bondi news, the radiation field, the Bondi-Sachs 4-momentum-- do not easily generalize to this context, {\it no matter how small $\Lambda$ is.} Even in the weak field limit, it took a hundred years to find an appropriate generalization of Einstein's celebrated quadrupole formula to accommodate a positive cosmological constant. I will summarize the main issues and then sketch the current state of the art.
 

15 May 2018
12:00
to
13:15
Abstract

In this talk, we will discuss some recent progress on the study of six-dimensional S-matrices as well as their applications. Six-dimensional theories we are interested include the world-volume theories of single probe M5-brane and D5-brane, as well as 6D super Yang-Mills and supergravity. We will present twistor-string-like formulas for all these theories, analogue to that of Witten’s twistor string formulation for 4D N=4 SYM. 
As the applications, from the 6D results we also deduce new formulas for scattering amplitudes of theories in lower dimensions, such as SYM and supergravity in five dimensions, and 4D N=4 SYM on the Columbo branch. 
 

1 May 2018
12:00
to
13:15
Dr Sylvia Nagy
Abstract

I will present a procedure for perturbatively constructing the field content of gravitational theories from a convolutive product of two Yang-Mills theories. A dictionary "gravity=YM * YM" is developed, reproducing the symmetries and dynamics of the gravity theory from those of the YM theories. I will explain the unexpected, yet crucial role played by the BRST ghosts of the YM system in the construction of gravitational fields. The dictionary is expected to develop into a solution-generating technique for gravity.
 

6 March 2018
12:00
to
13:15
Dr Jake Bourjaily
Abstract

There have been enormous advances in both our ability to represent scattering amplitudes at the integrand-level (for an increasingly wide variety of quantum field theories), and also in our integration technology (and our understanding of the functions that result). In this talk, I review both sides of these recent developments. At the integrand-level, I describe the "prescriptive" refinement of generalized unitarity, and show how closed, integrand-level formulae can be given for all leading-weight contributions to any amplitude in any quantum field theory. Regarding integration, I describe some new results that could be summarized as "dual-conformal sufficiency": that all planar, ultraviolet-finite integrands can be regulated and computed directly in terms of manifestly dual-conformal integrals. I illustrate the power of having such representations, and discuss the role played by a (conjectural) cluster-algebraic structure for kinematic dependence. 

2 March 2018
12:00
to
13:15
Peter Hintz
Abstract

I will explain a new proof of the non-linear stability of the Minkowski spacetime as a solution of the Einstein vacuum equation. The proof relies on an iteration scheme at each step of which one solves a linear wave-type equation globally. The analysis takes place on a suitable compactification of $\mathbb{R}^4$ to a manifold with corners whose boundary hypersurfaces correspond to spacelike, null, and timelike infinity; I will describe how the asymptotic behavior of the metric can be deduced from the structure of simple model operators at these boundaries. This talk is based on joint work with András Vasy.

6 February 2018
12:00
to
13:15
James Drummond
Abstract


I will describe how to recast perturbative quantum gravity using non-perturbative techniques from conformal field theory, focussing on the case of N=4 super Yang-Mills theory. By resolving the degeneracy among double trace operators at large N we are able to bootstrap one-loop supergravity corrections from the OPE of the CFT.
 

23 January 2018
12:00
to
13:15
Eduardo Casali
Abstract

We study the winding mode sector of recently discovered string theories, which were, until now, believed to describe only conventional field theories in target space. We discover that upon compactification winding modes allows the string to acquire an oscillator spectrum giving rise to an infinite tower of massive higher-spin modes. We study the spectra, S-matrices, T-duality and high-energy behaviour of the bosonic and supersymmetric models. In the tensionless limit, we obtain formulae for amplitudes based on the scattering equations. The windings decouple from the scattering equations but remain in the integrands. The existence of this winding sector shows that these new theories do have stringy aspects and describe non-conventional field theories.  This talk is based on https://arxiv.org/abs/1710.01241.

5 December 2017
12:00
to
13:15
Kasper Larsen
Abstract

Scattering amplitudes computed at a fixed loop order, along with any other object computed in perturbative QFT, can be expressed as a linear combination of a finite basis of loop integrals. To compute loop amplitudes in practise, such a basis of integrals must be determined. In this talk I introduce a new algorithm for finding bases of loop integrals and discuss its implementation in the publically available package Azurite.

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