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Mitchell Institute (MIST) Events

Fall 2021

A Good Hard Look at Cosmic Supermassive Black-Hole Growth
August 30, 2021 11:30 am – 12:30 pm (CDT)
A Good Hard Look at Cosmic Supermassive Black-Hole Growth

Speaker: Niel Brandt (Penn State University)Host: Jonelle Walsh

The 7 Ms Chandra X-ray Observatory exposure on the Chandra Deep Field-South (CDF-S) has provided the most sensitive extragalactic X-ray survey by a wide margin. About 1050 X-ray sources have been detected, primarily distant active galactic nuclei (AGNs) and starburst/normal galaxies. The unmatched deep multiwavelength coverage for these sources allows [...]
Roads Not Taken
September 6, 2021 11:30 am – 12:30 pm (CDT)
Roads Not Taken

Speaker: Cameron Liang (Institute for Defense Analysis)Host: Stephanie Ho

I will discuss some highlights of research topics in my graduate school and postdoc experience. I will discuss my perspective and the technical skills I gained along the way. I will focus on my experience transitioning out of academia, and how my background helps transition into the world of data [...]
How Bright is the Radio Sky? (We Don’t Know) (yet)
September 8, 2021 4:00 pm (CDT) Hawking Auditorium
How Bright is the Radio Sky? (We Don’t Know) (yet)

Speaker: Jack Singal (University of Richmond)Host: Doojin Kim

The actual level of diffuse radio emission on our sky is surprisingly uncertain.  Almost all investigations that depend on understanding the radio sky, including cosmic microwave background and 21 cm cosmology foregrounds, rely on just one measurement - the 408 MHz Haslam map from the 1980s, which traces its absolute [...]
Accelerating Solitons
September 13, 2021 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (CDT) MIST M108
Accelerating Solitons

Speaker: Andrew Royston (Pennsylvania State University)Host: Falk Hassler

We show that the leading semiclassical behavior of soliton form factors at arbitrary momentum transfer is controlled by solutions to a new wave-like integro-differential equation that describes solitons undergoing acceleration. We work in the context of two-dimensional linear sigma models for concreteness, but our methods are purely semiclassical and generalizable.  [...]
When Stars Go Nonlinear: Large Amplitude Tides and Stellar Oscillations
September 13, 2021 11:30 am – 12:30 pm (CDT)
When Stars Go Nonlinear: Large Amplitude Tides and Stellar Oscillations

Speaker: Nevin Weinberg (University of Texas, Arlington)Host: Jonelle Walsh

Tides significantly impact the structure, evolution, and fate of many types of close binary systems, including short-period exoplanets, stellar binaries, and coalescing binary neutron stars.  In many of these systems, the tide’s amplitude is so large that it cannot be treated as a small, linear perturbation to the background star.  In this talk, [...]
Linearized Supergeometry of 11D,N =1⁄8 Superspace
September 20, 2021 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (CDT) MIST M108
Linearized Supergeometry of 11D,N =1⁄8 Superspace

Speaker: Anindya Sengupta (Texas A&M University)Host: Falk Hassler

In 1978, Cremmer, Julia, and Scherk wrote down a (component) theory of eleven-dimensional Supergravity. Soon, in 1980, Brink and Howe gave a superspace formulation of this theory. The component theory required that dynamical fields to be on-shell for the closure of 11D,N=1 Supersymmetry. The same on-shell requirement followed from the [...]
Prospects for Observing Exoplanets in the Coming Years with JWST
September 20, 2021 11:30 am – 12:30 pm (CDT) Hawking Auditorium
Prospects for Observing Exoplanets in the Coming Years with JWST

Speaker: Caroline Morley (University of Texas, Austin)Host: Stephanie Ho

As exoplanet astronomers, we currently stand at a threshold: with current and near-future discoveries from TESS, we have now discovered many of the nearby planets we share our neighborhood with. The Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, as well as dedicated ground-based efforts, have provided a taste of the diversity of [...]
Black Holes in the Early Universe
September 22, 2021 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm (CDT) Hawking Auditorium
Black Holes in the Early Universe

Speaker: Dan Hooper (University of Chicago)Host: Doojin Kim

Cosmology textbooks typically assume that the early universe was dominated by relativistic particles. But if even a relatively small number of black holes were created after inflation, they would make up an increasingly large fraction of the total energy density as space expands. I’ll argue that it is well-motivated to [...]
Worldsheet Correlators in AdS3
September 27, 2021 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (CDT)
Worldsheet Correlators in AdS3

Speaker: Lorenz Eberhardt (Institute for Advanced Study)Host: Falk Hassler

We revisit the computation of string correlation functions in AdS3 with pure NS-NS flux from a worldsheet point of view. These correlators contain all the perturbative information about the spacetime CFT and the existence of winding strings in AdS3 makes them very rich. We propose a solution to the problem [...]
Dark Matter Interactions in Condensed Matter Systems
September 29, 2021 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm (CDT)
Dark Matter Interactions in Condensed Matter Systems

Speaker: Yoni Kahn (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)Host: Doojin Kim

Is your dark matter detector a bag of free particles? If you're looking for GeV-TeV WIMPS, sure! If you're looking for sub-GeV dark matter, emphatically no! I will argue that condensed matter physics is mandatory for understanding light dark matter interactions with generic solid-state detectors, and give three examples of [...]
The Tadpole Problem
October 4, 2021 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (CDT) MIST M108
The Tadpole Problem

Speaker: Severin Lüst (Harvard University)Host: Falk Hassler

I will discuss string theory compactifications where a large number of moduli is stabilized by fluxes. I will present a conjecture which rules out the stabilization of all complex-structure moduli in F-theory at a generic point in moduli space by fluxes that satisfy the tadpole cancellation condition. Evidence for this [...]
New Backgrounds and New Ideas for Sub-GeV Dark Matter Direct Detection
October 6, 2021 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm (CDT)
New Backgrounds and New Ideas for Sub-GeV Dark Matter Direct Detection

Speaker: Peizhi Du (Stony Brook University)Host: Doojin Kim

Probing sub-GeV dark matter requires designing low threshold detectors and understanding backgrounds. In this talk I will address these two issues. First, we point out several unexplored low-energy backgrounds in sub-GeV dark matter searches, which arise from high-energy particles of cosmic or radioactive origin that interact with detector materials. In [...]
Quantum Minimal Surfaces from Quantum Error Correction
October 11, 2021 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (CDT) MIST M108
Quantum Minimal Surfaces from Quantum Error Correction

Speaker: Geoff Penington (University of California, Berkeley & IAS)Host: Falk Hassler

We show that complementary state-specific reconstruction of logical (bulk) operators is equivalent to the existence of a quantum minimal surface prescription for physical (boundary) entropies. This significantly generalizes both sides of an equivalence previously shown by Harlow; in particular, we do not require the entanglement wedge to be the same [...]
There and Back Again
October 11, 2021 11:30 am – 12:30 pm (CDT)
There and Back Again

Speaker: Ryan Oelkers (Texas A&M University)Host: Jonelle Walsh

A considerable number of astronomers and physicists have begun pursuing careers in industry as the demand for data driven talent has increased. However, it can be difficult for early career scientists to navigate the industry job market or know what to expect in a post-academic career. In this seminar, I [...]
Probing Axions with Event Horizon Telescope Polarimetric Measurements
October 13, 2021 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm (CDT) Hawking Auditorium
Probing Axions with Event Horizon Telescope Polarimetric Measurements

Speaker: Yue Zhao (The University of Utah)Host: Doojin Kim

With high spatial resolution, polarimetric imaging of supermassive black hole, like M87* or Sgr A*, by the Event Horizon Telescope can be used to probe the existence of ultralight bosonic particles, such as axions. Such particles can accumulate around a rotating black hole through the superradiance mechanism, forming an axion [...]
T-duality and String Alpha' Corrections
October 18, 2021 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (CDT) MIST M108
T-duality and String Alpha’ Corrections

Speaker: James Liu (University of Michigan)Host: Falk Hassler

Although T-duality is an inherently stringy symmetry, it can be seen at the effective field theory level, both in the classical two-derivative action and at the alpha' corrected level.  In fact, T-duality invariance can be a powerful tool in constraining the form of the alpha' corrections.  A particularly interesting framework [...]
Deciphering the Archaeological Record: Cosmological Imprints of Non-Minimal Dark Sectors
October 20, 2021 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm (CDT)
Deciphering the Archaeological Record: Cosmological Imprints of Non-Minimal Dark Sectors

Speaker: Fei Huang (University of California, Irvine)Host: Doojin Kim

Non-trivial dynamics within the dark sector can give rise to a complicated, non-thermal dark-matter phase-space distribution, which in turn can significantly influence the growth of cosmic structure. In this talk, we explore the cosmological implications of the non-trivial dynamics which may arise within dark sectors containing many degrees of freedom. We show [...]
Disorder Averaging and its UV (Dis)Contents
October 25, 2021 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (CDT) MIST M108
Disorder Averaging and its UV (Dis)Contents

Speaker: Jonathan Heckman (University of Pennsylvania)Host: Falk Hassler

We present a stringy construction of ensemble QFTs, thus realizing a disorder averaging over coupling constants. When each member of the ensemble is a CFT with a standard holographic dual, the resulting bulk can be interpreted as a single asymptotically Anti-de Sitter space geometry with multiple boundary components. This provides [...]
Pairs of Supermassive Black Holes
October 25, 2021 11:30 am – 12:30 pm (CDT)
Pairs of Supermassive Black Holes

Speaker: Kayhan Gultekin (University of Michigan)Host: Jonelle Walsh

Supermassive black holes, once thought to be theoretical novelties, are now considered to play a major role in many astrophysical phenomena including galaxy evolution. Now that we live in the era of gravitational wave observations, it is interesting to look forward to a time when we can detect gravitational waves from supermassive [...]
Dark Matter Direct Detection with Dielectrics
October 27, 2021 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm (CDT)
Dark Matter Direct Detection with Dielectrics

Speaker: Tongyan Lin (University of California, San Diego)Host: Doojin Kim

Direct detection experiments are rapidly advancing in the search for sub-GeV dark matter. As energy thresholds become lower, the many-body physics of a target material becomes especially important in determining a dark matter signal. In this talk, I will discuss how dark matter interactions in dielectric materials can be understood [...]
Decomposition in Orbifolds, Quantum Symmetries, and Anomalies
November 1, 2021 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (CDT) MIST M108
Decomposition in Orbifolds, Quantum Symmetries, and Anomalies

Speaker: Daniel Robbins (University of Albany)Host: Falk Hassler

In the context of 2D CFT, decomposition occurs when we construct an orbifold of a theory by gauging a group G that has a trivially-acting subgroup K.  The resulting theory is a disjoint union of orbifolds by subgroups of the effective G/K symmetry.  We'll generalize this old story by first [...]
2020: The Year of Twenty Thousand Transients
November 1, 2021 11:30 am – 12:30 pm (CDT) Hawking Auditorium
2020: The Year of Twenty Thousand Transients

Speaker: Griffin Hosseinzadeh (University of Arizona)Host: Stephanie Ho

Last year, for the first time, the IAU Transient Name Server surpassed 20,000 astronomical transient reports. This presents both an enormous opportunity, in that previously rare classes of transients are now discovered routinely, but also a wake-up call that traditional techniques of classification and analysis are not cut out for [...]
Indirect Searches for Dark Matter: Gamma Rays and Neutrinos
November 3, 2021 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm (CDT)
Indirect Searches for Dark Matter: Gamma Rays and Neutrinos

Speaker: Tarak Maity (Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru)Host: Doojin Kim

Gamma rays and neutrinos being charge-neutral are useful messengers in search of dark matter. In this talk, we will explore the prospect of recently discovered sub-PeV diffuse gamma rays by Tibet AS gamma in search of decaying dark matter. While for indirect search through neutrinos we focus on neutrinos produced [...]
From Quantum Spacetime to String Theory and Quantum Gravity Phenomenology
November 8, 2021 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (CDT)
From Quantum Spacetime to String Theory and Quantum Gravity Phenomenology

Speaker: Djordje Minic (Virginia Tech)Host: Falk Hassler

Quantum gravity effects are traditionally tied to short distances and high energies. In this talk we argue that, perhaps surprisingly, quantum gravity may have important consequences for the phenomenology of the infrared. We center our discussion around a conception of quantum gravity involving a notion of quantum spacetime that arises [...]
Cosmic Survey at the Low Surface Brightness Limit: Diffuse Light in Galaxies and Galaxy Clusters
November 8, 2021 11:30 am – 12:30 pm (CDT) Hawking Auditorium
Cosmic Survey at the Low Surface Brightness Limit: Diffuse Light in Galaxies and Galaxy Clusters

Speaker: Yuanyuan Zhang (Fermilab & Texas A&M University)Host: Stephanie Ho

The enormous amount of data collected by ongoing optical cosmic surveys provide great opportunities to explore extragalactic low-surface-brightness astronomical features. In this talk, I will discuss how we study faint diffuse light in galaxies and galaxy clusters with data from the Dark Energy Survey. By analyzing the images of a [...]
Three Effective Field Theory Vignettes
November 10, 2021 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm (CDT)
Three Effective Field Theory Vignettes

Speaker: Tim Cohen (University of Oregon)Host: Doojin Kim

I will describe some recent work on applying Effective Field Theory (EFT) methodology to three different physically interesting systems. First I will explain the philosophy and general methodology of EFT. I will then present three short vignettes. The first has to do with the application of EFT ideas to the [...]
Lessons and Surprises from Kaluza-Klein Spectra
November 15, 2021 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (CDT) MIST M108
Lessons and Surprises from Kaluza-Klein Spectra

Speaker: Gabriel Larios (Institute of Theoretical Physics, Madrid)Host: Falk Hassler

Infinite towers of massive modes arise for every compactification of higher dimensional theories. Understanding the properties of these Kaluza-Klein towers on non-trivial solutions with an AdS factor has been a longstanding issue with clear holographic interest, as they describe the spectrum of single-trace operators of the dual CFTs at strong [...]
Towards Connecting Gas Reservoirs in Galaxies, Quenching, and the Cosmic Web
November 15, 2021 11:30 am – 12:30 pm (CDT) Hawking Auditorium
Towards Connecting Gas Reservoirs in Galaxies, Quenching, and the Cosmic Web

Speaker: Joe Burchett (New Mexico State University)Host: Stephanie Ho

Forming new generations of stars in galaxies critically depends on gas flows that can both fuel and deprive galaxies of their precious gas supply.  Fresh cold gas must flow in to form new stars, while the explosive deaths of stars and supermassive black holes eject cold and hot gas into [...]
Generalised Geometry and Consistent Truncation
November 16, 2021 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (CDT) MIST M108
Generalised Geometry and Consistent Truncation

Speaker: Grégoire Josse (LPTHE, Sorbonne Universite, Paris)Host: Falk Hassler

In this talk I will present how the generalized geometry framework provides a systematic and simple way to derive consistent truncation of ten and eleven dimension supergravity to any dimension and any amount of supersymmetry.
Towards Exact matter spectra of F-theory Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Models
November 22, 2021 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (CDT) MIST M108
Towards Exact matter spectra of F-theory Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Models

Speaker: Mirjam Cvetic (University of Pennsylvania)Host: Falk Hassler

Within the largest, currently known, class of one Quadrillion globally consistent F-theory Standard Models with gauge coupling unification and no chiral exotics, we present advances in the determination of the full matter spectra, which are governed by fractional powers of line bundles, also known as root bundles on matter curves. [...]

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