I am an Astronomer, and a Physicist; in short I am an astrophysicist. I am an Assistant Professor in the Astrophysics and Gravitation group at the Department of Physics and Astronomy University of Waterloo. I am also an Associate Faculty in the Cosmology group at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physic (PI). I dabble in Astrophysics, Cosmology, and Physics of gravity. I am obsessed with observational hints that could help address problems in fundamental physics. In particular, I have found anomalous signatures of dark energy and dark baryons in the cosmic microwave background radiation. With other collaborators, I have also developed a curious theory for an incompressible dark energy, named cuscuton (after the Latin name for the parasitic plant of dodder). I am currently trying my hand in solving the cosmological constant problem through a new theory of gravity that can surprisingly relate the formation of astrophysical black holes to today's acceleration of cosmic expansion. In a related inquiry, I am also exploring the relation of cuscuton and quantum gravity.

Talks by Niayesh Afshordi

Managing the COVID-19 Pandemic across Geography and Demography

Niayesh Afshordi University of Waterloo

What factors drive the growth and decay of a pandemic? Can a study of community differences (in demographics, settlement, mobility, weather, and epidemic history) allow these factors to be identified? Has “herd immunity” to COVID-19 been reached anywhere? What are the best steps to manage/avoid future outbreaks in each community?  We analyzed the entire set of local COVID-19 epidemics in the United States; a broad selection of demographic, population density, climate factors, and local mobility data, in order to address these questions. What we found will surprise you!

Quantum Black Holes in the Sky: from Quantum Gravity to Astrophysics and Cosmology

Niayesh Afshordi University of Waterloo

In classical General Relativity (GR), an observer falling into an astrophysical black hole (BH) is not expected to experience anything dramatic as she crosses the event horizon. However, tentative resolutions to problems in quantum gravity, such as the cosmological constant problem or the black hole information paradox, invoke significant departures from classicality in the vicinity of the horizon. I outline theoretical and phenomenological arguments for these departures.