Fundamental Physics and Cosmology

Faculty: Carroll, Cheung, Ooguri, Wise

This focus area seeks to connect the fundamental laws of physics to the origin, evolution, and constituents of the universe.


Foundations of Cosmology. Modern physical theories bring us right up to the Big Bang, the origin of the observable universe. At that point, cosmology intersects with deep issues of quantum mechanics, quantum gravity, statistical mechanics, and the nature of fine-tuning and probabilistic explanation. Specific issues we investigate include the origin of the arrow of time, the connection between multiverse ideas and physical cosmology, the interpretation of quantum mechanics, and the role of inflationary cosmology.

Particle Physics in the Early Universe. Recent years have witnessed an explosion of activity linking specific models of field theory and particle physics to early-universe phenomena. Our work at the Moore Center explores models of inflation and cosmological phase transitions, with a particular interest in the physics of dark matter and baryogenesis as they connect to particle colliders, direct-detection experiments, and astrophysical observations.

Field Theory in the Late Universe. Cosmology has developed a very successful Standard Model that describes ordinary matter, dark matter, and dark energy evolving under the influence of gravity. At the Moore Center we work both to deepen our understanding of this model by developing new analytical techniques to explore late-universe dynamics, and to extend it by proposing alternatives to the simplest scenario. Such alternatives include modified theories of gravity, interacting dark matter, and approaches to the cosmological constant problem.

Selected Recent Publications