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Compact course on LQC (2012)


Compact course on LQC


Monday, June 11 to Wednesday, June 27 2012

The Emerging Field Project “Quantum Geometry” organises a compact course on (Loop) Quantum Cosmology (LQC) held by Prof. Ivan Agullo, Prof. Abhay Ashtekar and Dr. William Nelson (Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos at Pennsylvania State University, PA, USA) at the physics department of the University of Erlangen.

More information about the Emerging Field Project “Quantum Geometry” can be found here. This compact course is supported by the Emerging Field Initiative of the FAU.

Title Time Room
“Compact Course (Loop) Quantum Cosmology” Mon, 11.06.2012
16:00 s.t.-18:00
Lecture Hall D (HD)
“Compact Course (Loop) Quantum Cosmology” Tue, 12.06.2012
17:30 s.t.-19:30
Lecture Hall D (HD)
“Compact Course (Loop) Quantum Cosmology” Wed, 13.06.2012
14:00 s.t.-16:00
Lecture Hall D (HD)
“Compact Course (Loop) Quantum Cosmology” Tue, 19.06.2012
16:00 s.t.-18:00
Lecture Hall D (HD)
“Compact Course (Loop) Quantum Cosmology” Mon, 25.06.2012
16:00 s.t.-18:00
Lecture Hall H (HH)
“Compact Course (Loop) Quantum Cosmology” Tue, 26.06.2012
16:00 s.t.-18:00
Lecture Hall D (HD)
“Compact Course (Loop) Quantum Cosmology” Wed, 27.06.2012
17:00 s.t.-19:00
Lecture Hall D (HD)
“Colloquium of the Physics Department” Mon, 02.07.2012
Lecture Hall E (HE)
“Theory Colloquium” Tue, 03.07.2012
Lecture Hall F (HF)

Description of the course

Cosmology is the physics discipline that aims to explain the laws of the universe. Recently, satellites such as COBE, WMAP and PLANCK have provided us with very accurate measurements of many cosmological parameters. Among other things, these data suggest the existence of a mysterious form of energy in the universe, called “dark energy”. Dark energy, which outnumbers the known baryonic form of matter by a factor of a bout 14, could be a cosmological constant which in turn is driven by the quantum fluctuations of matter and geometry.
Dark energy therefore could be related to Quantum Gravity, a theory that tries to combine the principles of Quantum Field Theory and Einstein’s geometric interpretation of gravity, that is General Relativity. Certainly, Quantum Gravity is also relevant in the very early universe close to the big bang where our current understanding of physics fails, where curvature of geometry and and energy density become infinite. Another integral part of contemporary theoretical cosmology is inflation, a mysterious process driven by an unknown form of matter called the inflaton which is needed to explain otherwise occurring causality puzzles. Could they also be explained by Quantum Gravity?

The application of Quantum Gravity to the physics of the universe is called Quantum Cosmology. In recent years, a particular approach to Quantum Gravity, called Loop Quantum Gravity (LQG), has received growing attention and its application to Cosmology is called Loop Quantum Cosmology (LQC). In this compact course, three of the leading experts on LQC, Dr. Ivan Agullo, (Pennsylvania State University, PA, USA), Prof. Abhay Ashtekar (Pennsylvania State University, PA, USA) who is also one of the founding fathers of LQG and Dr. William Nelson (Pennsylvania State University, PA, USA) will teach about the foundations of LQC and its predictions.

Only elementary knowledge of Quantum Field Theory or General Relativity will be assumed (compare for instance the introductory chapters of V. Mukhanov’s book “The Physical Foundations of Cosmology”, Cambridge University Press 2005).
The aim of the course, among other things, to discuss why there is a theoretical possibility that the big bang in fact never happened, that there was maybe a time before the creation of the universe and that there was perhaps instead a big bounce made possible by quantum effects. These could have prevented the universe from becoming a single point but rather would have kept it to a minimal Planck volume of the 10-100 cm3.

Review on Loop Quantum Cosmology

A recent review on Loop Quantum Cosmology written by Abhay Ashtekar and Parampreet Singh can be downloaded here.

Lecture Notes of the Compact Course

The pdf files of Abhay Ashtekar’s talks can be downloaded from the following links: Talk 1 and Talk 2.

Announcement in German

The course will be held in English.
An announcement of the compact course in German can be downloaded from the following link Compact Course on (Loop) Quantum Cosmology.