April 18

Prof. Avi Loeb

Department of Astronomy

Harvard University

Three Astrophysical Laboratories for Particle Physics

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 three such "astrophysical laboratories", which are likely to represent new frontiers in cosmology and 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. The third involves the acceleration of high-energy particles in cosmological shock waves. I will describe past and future observations of these environments and some related theoretical work.