Testing Fundamental Physics with Astronomical Observations
Astronomical observations allow us to test fundamental physics laws under more extreme conditions than possible in terrestrial laboratories. In some important cases (i.e. cosmology), astronomical observations present the only way to gather empirical evidence and to formulate and subsequently test the theories. In this one-semester course, we start with a brief summary of the current theoretical framework that is used to explain the cosmos: the theory of General Relativity and the Standard Model of particle physics. Subsequently, we introduce current astronomical observatories and discuss which fundamental physics laws they can probe. We include a detailed discussion of theoretical ideas which are being probed, and avenues for developing more precise tests with future experiments. This class is designed to be highly relevant for theoretical and experimental researchers. Previous exposure to the theory of General Relativity and quantum field theories is beneficial but not required.
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