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Department of Mathematical Sciences

Seminar Archives

On this page you can find information about seminars in this and previous academic years, where available on the database.

Maths HEP Lunchtime Seminars: Generalized perturbations in modified gravity and dark energy

Presented by Jonathan Pearson, Durham

12 October 2012 13:00 in CM101

When recent observational evidence and the GR+FRW+CDM model are combined we obtain the result that the Universe is accelerating, where the acceleration is due to some not-yet-understood "dark sector". There has been a considerable number of theoretical models constructed in an attempt to provide an "understanding" of the dark sector: dark energy and modified gravity theories. The proliferation of modified gravity and dark energy models has brought to light the need to construct a "generic" way to parameterize the dark sector.

We will discuss our new way of approaching this problem. We write down an "effective action" for linearized perturbations to the gravitational field equations for a given field content; crucially, our formalism does not require a Lagrangian to be presented for calculations to be performed and observational predictions to be extracted. Our approach is inspired by that taken in particle physics, where the most general modifications to the standard model are written down for a given field content that is compatible with some assumed symmetry (which we take to be isotropy of the background spatial sections). We find, for example, that the observational impact of very broad classes of theories can be encoded by a very small (less than 5) number of parameters. It is only these parameters which we have a hope of measuring with observational data.

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