Effective Field Theory Outside the Horizon (14rit184)


(McMaster University and Perimeter Institute)

Richard Holman (Carnegie Mellon University)

Gianmassimo Tasinato (Institute for Cosmology and Gravitation)

Matthew Williams (McMaster University)


The Banff International Research Station will host the "Effective Field Theory Outside the Horizon" workshop from to .

Nature comes to us with a variety of scales, ranging from elementary particles up through atoms and molecules and on to the planets, stars, galaxies and the observable universe as a whole. It is a basic fact of Nature that we need not try to understand everything at once, since each of these scales can be understood largely on their own terms. For instance, it wasn't necessary to understand nuclei in detail to understand atoms, or to understand atoms to learn the laws of motion of macroscopic objects. It is largely because of this that science progresses at all.

The mathematics we use to describe Nature, Quantum field theory, has a similar property in that it shows why very small (or very energetic) objects are largely irrelevant for describing the properties of much larger (or lower energy) things. This property is called 'decoupling', and is exploited by a mathematical technique called 'effective field theory' to simplify the description of complicated systems having many scales. It is not known how to apply this technique to a class of systems of great interest, such as to the properties of physical processes taking place over the largest distances in the universe; processes are relevant to cosmology (the science of the universe as a whole). Our goal is to develop these tools and apply them to some of the unsolved problems of current cosmological interest.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology, and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).