Avi Loeb, Director, Institute for Theory and Computation, Harvard University

Topic: "Exploring New Physics in the Early Universe and Around Black Holes"  (Video)

ABSTRACT: The Universe offers environments with extreme physical conditions that cannot be realized in laboratories on Earth. These environments provide unprecedented tests for extensions of the Standard Model.  I will  describe two such "astrophysical laboratories", which are likely to represent new frontiers in observational astrophysics over the next decade. One  provides a novel probe of the initial conditions from inflation and the nature of the dark matter, based on 3D mapping of the distribution of cosmic hydrogen through its resonant 21cm line. The second allows to constrain the metric around supermassive black holes based on direct imaging or  the detection of gravitational waves. I will describe past and future observations of these environments and some related theoretical work.