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Gravity, Cosmology & Theoretical Physics

PITP is supporting a broad range of research in the general areas of cosmology, gravity and theoretical astrophysics. In theoretical cosmology, topics include analysis and modeling of the cosmic background radiation with intimate ties to ongoing experimental efforts, structure formation in the early universe as well as issues-such as inflation-involving the physics of the very early universe.

General relativity has traditionally been a strength of Canadian theory; PITP researchers include many of the most active Canadian and international researchers in this field. One key area involves problems in numerical relativity, such as black hole formation, black hole collisions, gravitational wave generation and the study of string theory-inspired phenomena. Numerical relativity depends to a large extent on skilled young researchers, a significant number of whom have been, or are being, trained by scientists associated with the institute. With Penn State University, PITP has already co-sponsored a summer school in this area in Vancouver (see Summer Schools). Another area of interest is in quantum black holes. At the present time interest in this field concentrates on the relationship to results provided in string theory, and there is significant overlap with the string theory CRT here.

Another focus of activity in the gravity CRT is the study of the early universe, particularly the nature of dark matter and gas in the early universe, and the relationship to measurements of the cosmic microwave background. PITP will foster close collaboration between the CITA and UBC groups and to this end is jointly sponsoring with CITA the 2003 Kingston Theoretical Astrophysics Meeting, "The Microwave Sky Confronts the Universe!". This conference has been organised to run concurrently with a PITP string CRT meeting, with joint sessions. Other areas of related interest include quantum cosmology and, increasingly, issues such as the dynamical fate of black strings which are motivated by string theory.

One cannot divorce the study of cosmological questions from other areas of theoretical astrophysics- this CRT is also fostering work in stellar astrophysics (eg., the properties of neutron stars). In the same way, work in quantum gravity naturally leads to questions about the foundations of quantum mechanics, and quantum information- ideas which have been discussed in the context of quantum black holes since the 1970's.

British Columbia
M. Choptuik (UBC)
M. Halpern (UBC)
J. Heyl (UBC)
J. Navarro (Victoria)
S. Savitt (Philosophy, UBC)
K. Schleich (UBC)
W.G. Unruh (UBC)
L. van Waerbeke (UBC)
D. Witt (UBC)
V. Frolov (U. Alberta)
D Page (U. Alberta)
D. Bond (CITA director, Toronto)
R. Mann (Waterloo)
R. Myers (Perimeter Inst.)
U.-L. Pen (CITA, Toronto)
A. Peet (Toronto)
E. Poisson (Guelph)
C. Burgess (McGill)
D. Garfinkle (Oakland U)
B. Greene (Columbia)
E. Hirschmann (BYU)
P. Laguna (Penn State)
L. Lehner (Louisiana State)
S. Liebling (Long Island U)
R.M Wald (Chicago)
G. Efstathiou (Cambridge)
Y. Mellier (Paris)
R. Schuetzhold (Dresden)