New Thoughts 3: About the Universe and More

Wednesday 19th - Thursday 20th April 2017

Bishop Woodford House, Ely, UK

Bishop Woodford House

Poet's House Restaurant

Supported by a mini-grant from the Foundational Questions Institute.


Programme (subject to change):

Wednesday 19th April

Thursday 20th April

Practical Details

The mini-grant should cover tea/coffee, lunches, evening meal and accommodation for those who need it. If there is any money left over it might be possible to help some people out with travel expenses too.

If there is sufficient interest we might take in a short tour of Ely Cathedral as a social event at some point.

Dinner Menu

Please let me know your choice of starter and main course:

Potential Topics and Preparatory Material:

Thanks for your suggestions listed below. We'll mould this into something resembling a programme as the meeting approaches...

Approximating the collisionless Boltzmann equation beyond the Jeans' Equations (Pontzen)

Picard-Lefschetz Theory for Quantum Cosmology (Feldbrugge)

Analogue condensed matter systems for false vacuum bubble nucleation (Braden)

Can we prove that CMB fluctuations have a quantum origin? (Vennin)

Dark matter halo profiles and statistical measures (Carron)

In a cosmological N-body box the two-body relaxation timescale is so huge that for any practical purpose the correct description of the system is the corresponding Vlasov-Poisson system, of which halos must form stationary solutions. Attempts to setup a statistical ensemble based on particle-based forms of entropy cannot recover these solutions, as the two limits 'N' and 'time' go to infinity do not commute. Is it possible to understand instead the statistical mechanics of the Vlasov-Poisson system ?

Non-linear transformations of the matter density field (Carron)

Non linear transforms have been proposed for quite a while now as a way to recapture information lost by non-linear evolution. How useful can they really be for cosmology and what can they really teach us about the density field ?

Thermodynamics and Gravity (Oppenheim)

Realist one-world versions of quantum theory (Kent)

Generalizations of quantum theory (Kent)

Does physics have anything to say about consciousness? (Kent)

Can lab experiments or astronomical observations rule out the string landscape? (Marsh)

There is now compelling, but still largely indirect, evidence for the existence of a vast landscape of metastable de Sitter vacua from compactifications of string theory. Current estimates from some of the better understood constructions suggests that the number of such vacua is very large but finite, roughly of the order of 10^(272,000). Hence, these solutions appear sufficiently numerous to account for the smallness of the observed vacuum energy. Whether this framework can be falsified has been hotly debated over the past decade, but not uncommonly without input from either quantum field theory or string theory. I suggest discussing how laboratory experiments or astronomical observations can, at least in principle, rule out the string landscape, as presently understood.

Can quantum-inspired reasoning be useful in everyday life? (Gratton)

I've been thinking about the applicability of the formalism of quantum mechanics to everyday life. It seems to be directly relevant for situations in which the very act of coming to a conclusion or decision on one issue affects one’s confidence about conclusions or decisions on another issue.

Faster cosmology with Runge-Kutta-WKB (Handley)

What is the smallest primordial tensor mode that in principle could be detectable in the CMB? (Lewis)