The Drake Equation is a thought experiment whose purpose is to understand the ingredients necessary for life and advanced technological civilizations to exist on other worlds in our galaxy. However, beyond reflecting on life on Earth we have no knowledge of many of these ingredients, such as the number of planets that have life, the number of with intelligent life, the number with advanced civilizations, and the lifetimes of these civilizations. In this talk I will review the Drake Equation and the biases that scientists have traditionally had in discussing this equation and how it has led to the current searches of biological and technological signatures. I will discuss how the Drake Equation looks different if we consider it through the lens of Indigenous methods and sciences and how these methods would lead to a dramatically different view of life in our Galaxy.
The fact black holes carry statistical entropy proportional to their horizon area implies that quantum information concepts are geometrized in gravity. This idea obtains a particular manifestation in the AdS/CFT correspondence, where it is believed that the quantum information content in the dual field theory state can be used to reconstruct the bulk space-time geometry. The calculation of entanglement entropy from geodesics in the bulk space-time have clarified this idea to some extend.
In this talk, I will consider two aspects of quantum information theory in relation to holography: First, I will discuss a refinement of entanglement entropy for systems with conserved charges, the so-called symmetry resolved entanglement. It measures the entanglement in a sector of fixed charge. I will present how to calculate the symmetry-resolved entanglement entanglement in two-dimensional conformal field theories with Kac-Moody symmetry, and also within W_3 higher spin theory. I will also discuss the geometric realization in the dual AdS space-time, and how the independent calculation there leads to a new test of the AdS3/CFT2 correspondence.
Second, I will discuss the large N limit of Nielsen's operator complexity on the SU(N) manifold, with a particular choice of cost function based on the Laplacian on the Lie algebra, which leads to polynomial (instead of exponential) penalty factors. I will first present numerical results that hint to the existence of chaotic and hence ergodic geodesic motion on the group manifold, as well show the existence of conjugate points. I will then discuss a mapping between the Euler-Arnold equation which governs the geodesic evolution, to the Euler equation of two-dimensional idea hydrodynamics, in the strict large N limit.
Superconductivity in electronic systems, where the non-interacting bandwidth for a set of isolated bands is small compared to the scale of the interactions, is a non-perturbative problem. Here we present a theoretical framework for computing the electromagnetic response in the limit of zero frequency and vanishing wavenumber for the interacting problem, which controls the superconducting phase stiffness, without resorting to any mean-field approximation. Importantly, the contribution to the phase stiffness arises from (i) ``integrating-out" the remote bands that couple to the microscopic current operator, and (ii) the density-density interactions projected on to the isolated bands. We also obtain the electromagnetic response directly in the limit of an infinite gap to the remote bands, using the appropriate ``projected" gauge-transformations. These results can be used to obtain a conservative upper bound on the phase stiffness, and relatedly the superconducting transition temperature, with a few assumptions. In a companion article, we apply this formalism to a host of topologically (non-)trivial ``flat-band" systems, including twisted bilayer graphene.
It has been argued astronomy and astrophysics as a research field developed with the first telescope. At the same time that Galileo observed the phases of Venus and the moons of Jupiter, European Powers will colonizing the Americas and other parts of the world. This began a relationship between astronomy and colonization that continues today in terms of astronomers and nations building giant telescopes on Indigenous lands. In the future as private actors develop a new space industry we will see the export of this colonialism to Space, to the Moon and one day even to Mars. We are already seeing this today with the development of satellite constellations, some of which are visible by the unaided eye and with the multinational Artemis Accords for lunar exploration. In this talk I will review the relation between astronomy and colonization in the past, present, and future; and I will discuss steps educators and astronomers can take to address this in the classroom and how the field of astronomy and space exploration can be inclusive of Indigenous rights and voices.
With over a hundred detections to date, the discoveries of compact binary mergers by gravitational wave observatories LIGO and Virgo have allowed us to start characterizing the astrophysical population of binary black holes. This task requires measuring the fifteen parameters (masses, spins, location, orientation, etc...) that characterize each merger event. However, these high dimensional distributions are challenging to describe due to the presence of nonlinear correlations and multiple modes. In this seminar I will describe a series of coordinate changes that, by identifying parameter combinations that control specific observable signatures in the data, remove these degeneracies and multimodality, making parameter estimation amenable. Among the new coordinates is a spin azimuth that can be measured surprisingly well in several cases, hinting that some black hole spins are misaligned with the orbit. This is very interesting because the degree of spin-orbit alignment is a robust discriminator between isolated and dynamical formation channels, which predict spins preferentially aligned with the orbit or randomly oriented, respectively. At the same time, I will show that the observed proportion of events with spins aligned versus anti-aligned with the orbit disfavors the hypothesis that the spin distribution is isotropic.
In this talk will develop Rafael D. Sorkin's heuristic that a partially ordered process of the birth of spacetime atoms in causal set quantum gravity can provide an objective physical correlate of our perception of time passing. I will argue that one cannot have an external, fully objective picture of the birth process because the order in which the spacetime atoms are born is a partial order. I propose that live experience in causal set theory is an internal ``view'' of the objective birth process in which events that are neural correlates of consciousness occur. In causal set theory, what ``breathes fire'' into a neural correlate of consciousness is that which breathes fire into the whole universe: the unceasing, partially ordered process of the birth of spacetime atoms.
The NLTS (No Low-Energy Trivial State) conjecture of Freedman and Hastings  posits that there exist families of Hamiltonians with all low energy states of non-trivial complexity (with complexity measured by the quantum circuit depth preparing the state). Our recent work https://arxiv.org/abs/2206.13228 (with Nikolas Breuckmann and Chinmay Nirkhe) proves this conjecture by showing that the recently discovered families of constant-rate and linear-distance QLDPC codes correspond to NLTS local Hamiltonians. This talk will provide background on the conjecture, its relevance to quantum many-body physics and quantum complexity theory, and touch upon the proof techniques.
Within the AdS/CFT correspondence, the entanglement properties of the CFT are related to wormholes in the dual gravity theory. This gives rise to questions about the factorisation properties of the Hilbert spaces on both sides of the correspondence. We show how the Berry phase, a geometrical phase encoding information about topology, may be used to reveal the Hilbert space structure. Wormholes are characterized by a non-exact symplectic form that gives rise to the Berry phase. For wormholes connecting two spacelike regions in AdS3 spacetimes, we find that the non-exactness is linked to a variable appearing in the phase space of the boundary CFTs. Mathematical concepts such as coadjoint orbits and geometric actions play an important role in this analysis. We classify Berry phases according to the type of dual bulk diffeomorphism involved, distinguishing between Virasoro, gauge and modular Berry phases.
In addition to its relevance for quantum gravity, the approach presented also suggests how to experimentally realize the Berry phase and its relation to entanglement in table-top experiments involving photons or electrons. This provides a new example for relations between very different branches of physics that follow from the AdS/CFT correspondence and its generalizations. Based on 2202.11717 and 2109.06190.
Information about the late-time Universe is imprinted on the small scale CMB as photons travel to us from the surface of last scattering. Several processes are at play and small scale fluctuations are very rich and non-Gaussian in nature. I will review some of the most important effects and I will focus on the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) effect and gravitational lensing. I will discuss how a combination of measurements can probe velocity fields at cosmological distances and inform us on cluster energetics. I will also show recent measurements of weak lensing of the CMB and how they can help us interpret intriguing discrepancies in cosmological parameters between the high and low redshift Universe.