Ruprecht Karls Universität Heidelberg

ITP Cosmology Seminars

Tuesdays, 2:15 pm; usually online (access data is given on personal request at Ziyang Zheng ); The seminar takes place in SR106, phi12 and online via Zoom:


Meeting-ID: 323 716 2554

Password: 136946

===Organizers: Luca Amendola, Matthias Bartelmann and Lavinia Heisenberg ===

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Seminar calendar

1st March 2023

Speaker: Group Amendola

Institution: ITP Heidelberg

Title: Group Presentation Amendola

Abstract: Only for group members of Heisenberg, Amendola, Bartelmann

14th February 2023

Speaker: Elena Kozlikin

Institution: ITP Heidelberg

Title: Group Presentation Bartelmann

Abstract: Only for group members of Heisenberg, Amendola, Bartelmann

7th February 2023

Speaker: Adi Nusser

Institution: Physics Department, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology Haifa, Israel

Title: Reconstruction of the cosmic large scale structure within 200 Mpc and its implications on cosmological models

Abstract: Motions of galaxies are unbiased tracers of the three-dimensional dark matter density field. The talk will emphasize challenges in the analysis of peculiar motions and ways to deal with them. Cosmological implications of the observed large scale structure will also be examined. Pros and cons of Neural Network (NN) reconstruction of the density and velocity fields will be discussed. A particular emphasis will be made on demystifying the NN.

31st January 2023

Speaker: Miguel Quartin

Institution: Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and Heidelberg University

Title: The Lure of Sirens: Large-Scale Structure with Gravitational Waves

Abstract: Peculiar velocity surveys using supernovae or standard sirens can be combined with large-scale galaxy surveys to great benefit. Recently, we proposed a new methodology to analyse in a comprehensive way the clustering of supernovae and galaxy data at the linear level. This allows more precise cosmological constraints, and could also be used to obtain competitive measurements of the expansion rate without any assumptions on the cosmological model or dark energy. In this talk I will review this methodology and discuss how the use of next-generation gravitational wave observatories could improve on it. In particular, I will discuss their great potential in measuring both H0 and the spatial curvature of the universe. I will also discuss how to optimize the capabilities of standard sirens observed with next-generation observatories and followed up with optical telescopes.

24th January 2023 (TALK IN PRESENCE)

Speaker: Massimo Pietroni

Institution: University of Parma

Title: Large scale structure analyses: moving forward and looking wider

Abstract: I will present some new directions towards the optimal and model independent extraction of information from the Large Scale Structure of the Universe. After reviewing the present state of the art approaches to galaxy clustering in LCDM, I will discuss how symmetries can be exploited to cover more general theoretical landscapes in a model independent way. Then, I will motivate the increasing interest in new statistics beyond the Power Spectrum and the Bispectum and highlight some of their strong points and some issues to be understood before they can be reliably modelled from a theoretical point of view.

17th January 2023

Speaker: Blocked for Group Internal Discussions




10th January 2023

Speaker: Gianluca Calcagni

Institution: Instituto de Estructura de la Materia, CSIC, Madrid

Title: Imminent test of quantum gravity with gravitational waves

Abstract: We present a model of the early Universe stemming directly from a UV-complete, nonlocal, unified theory of quantum gravity and matter. The problems of the hot big bang are solved by virtue of the conformal invariance enjoyed by the theory without the need to invoke inflation. Primordial tensor and scalar spectra are naturally generated by, respectively, quantum and thermal fluctuations. Relying on very few assumptions, the theory predicts a blue-tilted tensor spectrum feeding a primordial stochastic background observable by DECIGO, as well as a lower bound for the tensor-to-scalar ratio detectable by BICEP Array within the next 5 years. Based on arXiv:2206.07066, 2206.06384.

20th December 2022

Speaker: Beatrice Bonga

Institution: Radboud University, the Netherlands

Title: Asymptotic symmetries in cosmology

Abstract: There exists a solid framework to study gravitational waves in full, non-linear general relativity when the spacetime is asymptotically flat. It does not require the splitting of the metric in a background piece and a linearly perturbed part and therefore describes all non-linearities of the theory. One of the key results of this framework is the emergence of asymptotic symmetries, which in the case of asymptotically flat spacetimes form the Bondi-Metzner-Sachs (BMS) algebra. The situation for cosmological spacetimes is different, however. Expanding spacetimes, whose expansion is decelerating such as matter- or radiation-dominated universes, share some similarities with the asymptotically flat case nonetheless. In particular, the asymptotic symmetries are BMS-like, but differ in some crucial aspects. I will discuss how to understand this difference and the physical implications.

13th December 2022 (TALK IN PRESENCE)

Speaker: Jean-Luc Lehners

Institution: Max Planck Potsdam, Germany

Title: How to create universes with internal flux

Abstract: String compactifications typically require fluxes, for example in order to stabilise moduli. Such fluxes, when they thread internal dimensions, are topological in nature and take on quantised values. This poses the puzzle as to how they could arise in the early universe, as they cannot be turned on incrementally. Working with string inspired models in 6 and 8 dimensions, we show that there exist no-boundary solutions in which internal fluxes are present from the creation of the universe onwards. The no-boundary proposal can thus explain the origin of fluxes in a Kaluza-Klein context. In fact, it acts as a selection principle since no-boundary solutions are only found to exist when the fluxes have the right magnitude to lead to an effective potential that is positive and flat enough for accelerated expansion. Within the range of selected fluxes, the no-boundary wave function assigns higher probability to smaller values of flux. Our models illustrate how cosmology can act as a filter on a landscape of possible higher-dimensional solutions.

6th December 2022 (POSTPONED TO 31st JANUARY)

Speaker: Miguel Quartin

Institution: Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and Heidelberg University

Title: TBD

Abstract: TBD

30th November 2022 (Room 105,TALK IN PRESENCE)

Speaker: Imre Bartos

Institution: University of Florida

Title: Stellar graveyards in AGN disks

Abstract: Since their first discovery in 2015, gravitational-wave observations yielded several “surprises.” The LIGO and Virgo observatories detected more and heavier black holes than anticipated; the first object in the lower mass gap was found; and a particularly heavy black hole was discovered that could have not come from stellar core collapse. The surprises point to the possibility that some of LIGO/Virgo's black hole mergers occurred in the dense accretion disks of active galactic nuclei (AGNs). AGNs act like a black hole assembly line, resulting in multiple consecutive mergers that create heavier and faster spinning black holes, which may also have eccentric orbits. I will discuss what we currently know about AGN-assisted mergers and which of LIGO/Virgo's events are suspects. Another unique possibility in AGNs is accretion onto the black holes that can produce an electromagnetic counterpart to the mergers, which might have been already observed.

30th November 2022 (Room 105,TALK IN PRESENCE)

Speaker: I-Kang Liu

Institution: Newcastle University

Title: Coherent and incoherent structures in fuzzy dark matter halos

Abstract: Dark matter halos composed of ultralight bosons exhibit wavy behaviour with de Broglie wavelength in cosmological scales. The density profile contains a solitonic core in small length scales and is consistent with the Navarro-Frenk-White profile in large length scales, and we demonstrate that such a profile can be well described by the core-halo bimodal profile. The universal phenomenon of Bose-Einstein condensation has been introduced in FDM systems. Yet a careful discussion regarding that has not yet been studied other than the system can be described by a single quantum wavefunction, which can be regarded as a macroscopic condensate wavefunction, and here, inspired by widely-studied laboratory atomic systems, we examine the field fluctuations in fuzzy dark matter halos, generated by our merger simulations, via probing the spatial phase-phase and density-density correlation functions to unveil the FDM halo properties. We find out that the solitonic core is fully coherent and coincides with the Penrose-Onsager condensate mode, the most spatially long-range correlated mode, of a virialized halo. Moving outward from the core, fluctuations enhance and the crossover length scale can be nicely captured by the bimodal fit of the core-halo profile. By looking at the energy distribution, we demonstrate that these fluctuations are sourced by a large number of quantized vortices, indicating a possible turbulent scenario. The intervortex distance scale matches the granule one by comparing the vortex energy and overdensity power spectra. We also find out that granules in the outer halo feature the temporally local coherent density lumps, and the whole halo can be regarded as a collection of quasicondensate. Furthermore, we also find out that the bimodal fit of the core-halo profile can also be implemented to dynamically virialized halos.

29th November 2022 (TALK IN PRESENCE)

Speaker: Laura Engelbrecht

Institution: ETH Zürich

Title: Supersymmetric Massive Gravity

Abstract: Giving the graviton a mass has been of interest in cosmology due to its potential to account for an accelerating universe without the need to invoke dark energy. Additionally massive spin-2 theories can describe composite states such as those occurring in nuclear resonances of QCD. However, it is still unknown whether theories with a single spin-2 field that is massive have a UV completion and if they do, what it looks like. The known UV completion of general relativity, string theory, requires supersymmetry to solve many issues. Additionally enhancing the symmetry of physical theories to include supersymmetry has a history of leading to important insights. For these reasons we investigate what supersymmetry has to teach us about massive gravity. We start by introducing massive spin-2 theories. Then, using massive spinor helicity variables, we review an on-shell superspace formalism. Finally, we apply this formalism to massive spin-2 theories, deriving all cubic amplitudes compatible with supersymmetry and exploring the constraints that adding more supersymmetry has on these amplitudes. We conclude by commenting on computing the 4-point amplitudes and other possible future directions.

22nd November 2022

Speaker: Pau Amaro Seoane

Institution: Institute of Multidisciplinary Mathematics, UPV, Valencia, Spain

Title: Doing a chartography of warped spacetime with extreme-mass ratio inspirals

Abstract: The gravitational capture of a stellar-mass compact object by a supermassive black hole is a complex problem from the point of view of astrophysics and general relativity. The physical properties of the source are unique and will allow us to map spacetime, astrophysics and even mathematics(maybe).

15th November 2022

Speaker: Leonardo Senatore

Institution: ETH Zürich

Title: Some recent applications of the Effective Field Theory of Large-Scale Structure to data

Abstract: Recently, the Effective Field Theory of Large-Scale Structure has begun to be applied to data sets to constrain cosmological parameters and extensions to the LambdaCDM model. I will review some of these results.

14th November 2022

Speaker: Pedro da Silveira Ferreira

Institution: Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Title: Footprints in the harmonic space: The nature of the CMB dipole and the cold spot anomaly

Abstract: The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) anisotropies are thought to be statistically isotropic and Gaussian in the standard cosmological model. However, several anomalies are observed challenging these properties, leading cosmologists to question the basis of the model. By measuring CMB non-diagonal correlations in the harmonic space, I will show how we can test the cosmological principle, obtaining constraints of the CMB intrinsic dipole anisotropy, through the combination of our peculiar velocity footprints, aberration, and Doppler. Also, I will present a way to verify the nature of the most famous observed CMB anomaly, the Cold Spot, an unexpected ~10° cold region. One of the proposed explanations for such anomaly is a large void. Such structure introduces a lensing signature. By combining lensing and temperature signals obtained from Planck data, we can rule out the large void hypothesis.

8th Novemver 2022

Speaker: Nelson Nunes

Institution: Lisbon University

Title: Current and future contraints on f(Q) cosmology with LCDM background

Abstract: We will discuss a model of Symmetric Teleparallel Gravity where gravity is non-metrical. The cosmological background mimics a ΛCDM evolution and differences with respect to LCDM arise in the evolution of linear perturbations. We confront the model with current redshift space distortions data and make forecast using current and forthcoming ground and space based gravitational waves observatories, namely LIGO, ET and LISA.


Speaker: Alessio Notari

Institution: University of Barcelona

Title: Searching for Gravitational Waves from Cosmic Domain Walls

Abstract: I will explore the possibility that theories with unstable Domain Walls in the Early Universe could be responsible for the generation of a Gravitational Wave background signal, focusing in particular on the recent signal detected by Pulsar Timing Arrays experiments, NANOGrav 12.5 years dataset and International PTA Data Release 2 (IPTA DR2). As an example, a QCD Axion much heavier than usual might generate such a signal.

2st November 2022 (NOTE UNUSUAL DAY)

Speaker: Luisa Jaime

Institution: National Autonomous University of Mexico

Title: From inflation to late-time acceleration with geometry.

Abstract: We show that the evolution of the universe, from inflation to the present day, could be seen from the addition of an infinite tower of curvature invariants into the Hilbert-Einstein action. The theory is Einsteinian, Black hole solutions are Schwarzschild-like, and the only graviton that propagates is the standard one. Within this frame, we show that the main epochs of the universe can be reproduced: Inflation, Big Bang Nucleosynthesis, and Late-time acceleration. The presence of an inflationary epoch is a natural consequence of the theory, and the slow-roll condition is a robust prediction of the theory. Inflation possesses a graceful exit with enough e-folds to solve the horizon problem. Deviations of H(z) around the BBN epoch can be close to the one expected in GR+LCDM. Finally, we show that late-time evolution can provide an acceleration similar to the cosmological constant.

25th October 2022

Speaker: Valerio Faraoni

Institution: Department of Physics & Astronomy, Bishop’s University

Title: Horndeski gravity as an effective fluid

Abstract: Horndeski gravity can be described as an effective fluid by writing its effective field equations as effective Einstein equations with an effective stress-energy tensor as a source. This fluid is dissipative. Applying to it the constitutive laws of Eckart's first-order thermodynamics, one obtains a “temperature of gravity” for viable Horndeski gravity, with general relativity as the zero-temperature equilibrium state. Furthermore, a classification of Horndeski theories emerges: the requirement that the Horndeski fluid be Newtonian (i.e., linear in the velocity gradient) is satisfied by only two subclasses of viable Horndeski gravity, all other theories corresponding to non-Newtonian fluids.

18th October 2022

Speaker: Noemi Frusciante

Institution: IA/FCUL Lisbon

Title: Can Modified Gravity challenge $\Lambda$CDM?

Abstract: The late time cosmic acceleration is one of the most puzzling phenomena in modern cosmology. Its modeling within General Relativity (GR) through the cosmological constant ($\Lambda$) results in the $\Lambda$CDM scenario. Although the latter gives a precise description of the Universe, it is known that it still contains a number of unresolved problems. These lead researchers to look for modified gravity models, for example by including additional degrees of freedom. In this talk I will present the phenomenology and the cosmological bounds of theories consistent with the gravitational-wave event GW170817. In particular I will discuss models which solve the Hubble tension between Planck and local measurements and for which data show a statistically significant preference over $\Lambda$CDM.

26th July 2022

Speaker: Caroline Heneka

Institution: University of Hamburg

Title: Line intensity mapping and machine learning for new avenues in cosmology

Abstract: Mapping the intensities of emission/absorption lines over cosmological scales, the most prominent example being the 21cm line of neutral hydrogen, holds the promise of a new, or many new, large-scale structure probes. Due the potential of exploiting and combining multiple lines, line intensity mapping enables us to map out the Universe from high redshifts of the Epoch of Reionisation to present times, while targeting different tracers. This multi-line and large-scale imaging of intensity fluctuations is an ideal candidate for the application and development of deep learning and computer vision techniques, that have the potential for optimal treatment of such images. I will review recent developments in both fields, highlight developments for source detection and parameter inference in preparation for 21cm measurements with the SKA (Square Kilometre Array), and sketch our road ahead.

19th July 2022

Speaker: Stefano Liberati

Institution: SISSA, Trieste

Title: Black hole thermodynamics beyond Lorentz invariance: resilience against all odds

Abstract: A possible signature of the quantum/discrete nature of spacetime at small scales is a breakdown of its local symmetries and in particular of local Lorentz invariance. While a wealth of knowledge has been acquired about departures from such a fundamental symmetry in the matter sector of the Standard Model, not so much is known about the gravitational sector (where it has been suggested that UV Lorentz breaking could be a key ingredient for renormalizability) and current observations leave an interesting parameter space amenable to exploration. In this talk, I will review our knowledge concerning the phenomenological constraints we acquired so far, and then focus on black hole solutions in Lorentz breaking gravity and on the theoretical issue concerning their thermodynamic behaviour. In this sense, I will present a series of recent results pointing to a surprising resilience of Hawking radiation in these settings: a fact that might help expositing what fundamentally lies at the root of black hole radiation and the associated thermodynamic laws.


Speaker: Davi C. Rodrigues

Institution: Federal University of Espírito Santo

Title: Testing modified gravity rotation curves with the Normalized Additional Velocity method

Abstract: I will introduce the Normalized Additional Velocity (NAV) method and show how to apply it, with focus on modified gravity (although it can also be useful for dark matter profiles). The method will be illustrated with several models, including $f(R)$ Palatini, Eddington-inspired-Born-Infeld (EiBI), MOND and others. It is a complementary and fast approach to study galaxy rotation curves (RCs) directly from the sample distribution, instead of first performing several individual RC fits. It does not cover all the RC properties, but it focuses on the shape of the non-Newtonian contribution for a given sample (we use 122 SPARC galaxies). A relevant advantage, when applying the method to modified gravity models, is that for several models it is possible to use approximations that circumvent the need for solving modified Poisson equations for each one of the galaxies. Among other results, we show that $f(R)$ Palatini and EiBI gravities cannot be used to replace dark matter in galaxies, while MOND has reasonable results, although with an issue.

12th July 2022 (TALK IN PRESENCE)

Speaker: Roberto Capuzzo Dolcetta

Institution: Sapienza University of Rome

Title: The strong gravitational field in the Galactic center

Abstract: The central region of the Milky Way is likely the remnant of an AGN which was active in the first Gyr of the Galaxy. It is site of a central compact object , Sgr A*, which has been recently claimed to be a super massive black hole (SMBH) of about 4.5 million solar masses by the evidence provided by the Event Horizon Telescope. Around the SMBH stands a nuclear star cluster, very dense and of a mass slightly large than that of the SMBH. In this lecture I will outline some relevant physical issues of this peculiar environment where the regime of strong gravitational field is evident.

05th July 2022

Speaker: Shreya Banerjee

Institution: University of Erlangen–Nuremberg

Title: Primordial black hole formation in $F(R)$ bouncing cosmology

Abstract: The phenomenology of primordial black holes (PBHs) physics, and the associated PBH abundance constraints, can be used in order to probe the early-universe evolution. In this talk, we focus on the bounce realization within F(R) modified gravity and we investigate the corresponding PBH behavior. In particular, we calculate the energy density power spectrum at horizon crossing time as a function of the involved theoretical parameters, and then we extract the PBH abundance in the context of peak theory, considering the non-linear relation between the density contrast and the comoving curvature perturbation, as well as the critical collapse law for the PBH masses. We calculate the PBH mass function, and the PBH abundance at formation time as a function of the model parameters, namely the bounce parameter and the Hubble parameter at the transition time from the bounce to the radiation dominated epoch. Upon full parameter analysis, we obtain very interesting constraints on the model parameters leading to significant PBH production.

29th June 2022, 16:00 pm; Phil 19 SR (NOTE UNUSUAL DAY AND TIME; TALK IN PRESENCE)

Speaker: Ippocratis Saltas

Institution: Institute of Physics of Czech Academy of Sciences

Title: Searching for dark energy with the Sun (based on

Abstract: General theories for dark energy predict a residual fifth-force effect at stellar scales, opening up an exciting opportunity to probe the cosmological theory with stars. In this talk, I will discuss how the Sun offers a powerful laboratory to test the fifth force effect. In particular, I will present the results of solar evolution simulations in the context of general scalar-tensor theories for dark energy known as DHOST, and I will explain how the fifth force leaves a sharp signature on the solar equilibrium structure, allowing to improve on the the theory’s free parameter by about three orders of magnitude.

28th June 2022; Phil 19 SR (TALK IN PRESENCE)

Speaker: Júlio Fabris

Institution: Federal University of Espírito Santo

Title: On a cosmological model based on unimodular gravity

Abstract: Unimodular gravity is one of the oldest gravity theory alternatives to General Relativity. Under some hypothesis unimodular gravity reduces to GR in presence of a cosmological constant. But, this is not the only possible scenariocoming from unimodular gravity. If the restricted diffeomorphism is retained in all its generality, a quite different structure may emerge. We exploit this possibility and its consequence for cosmology. A viable cosmological scenario, very different from the standard one, may be obtained. We discuss also a scalar-tensor extension of the unimodular gravity.

21st June 2022


14th June 2022

Speaker: Alessandra Silvestri

Institution: Leiden University

Title: Probing Gravity from Cosmology

Abstract: I will focus on the challenge posed by cosmic acceleration, review approaches to it and discuss theoretical issues involved in finding an optimal framework to test gravity and the physics of dark energy from upcoming high precision measurements of large scale structure. In particular, I will present our work on the creation and implementation of theoretical priors to guide tests of gravity with upcoming Large Scale Structure Surveys, some exploratory work about the use of gravitational waves to test modified gravity and, possibly, some work on the Hubble tension.

08th June 2022, 16:00 pm (NOTE UNUSUAL DAY AND TIME)

Speaker: Manuel Wittner

Institution: Heidelberg University

Title: Stringy axions and the Hydra of dark radiation

Abstract: The QCD axion represents arguably the most prominent solution to the strong CP problem. On the other hand, string theory as a candidate for an underlying theory beyond the standard model provides a plethora of axion-like fields, one of which could indeed play the role of the QCD axion. Nevertheless, the construction of phenomenologically viable models in the preferred parameter range has proven to be notoriously difficult. In this talk, I am going to elaborate on the difficulties one has to overcome when constructing stringy axion models. A promising setting, that can achieve the preferred smallness of the axion decay constant, is the large volume scenario, which is generally plagued by the issue of too much dark radiation, however. The latter typically arises from decays of the overall volume modulus into its own axion. I am going to present a novel possibility to overcome this issue via an enhanced decay rate of the volume modulus into SM Higgses. Further consequences of the latter will be discussed in more detail.

07th June 2022

Speaker: Isabela Santiago de Matos

Institution: Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Title: Constraints on modified gravity from gravitational wave distance and slip measurements

Abstract: It has been shown in the literature that detections of gravitational waves (GWs) emitted by binary sources can provide measurements of luminosity distance. The events followed by electromagnetic counterparts are, then, suitable for probing the distance-redshift relation and doing cosmological parameter estimation, as well as investigating modified gravity models. In the context of the Horndeski theories, even when requiring that the speed of propagation is equal to that of light, this GW distance differs from the standard electromagnetic luminosity distance due to the presence of a modified friction in the wave propagation. The very same source of this friction also affects the scalar sector, generating slip, i.e. a difference between the scalar potentials. In this seminar I will, first, talk about how precisely the future-planned interferometer Einstein Telescope will probe such deviations from General Relativity. Then, I will discuss how such constraints from the tensor sector compare to the ones coming from measurements of the slip or, more generally, to those from the scalar sector, in particular, current CMB data and Euclid forecasts.

01st June 2022, 16:00 pm (CANCELLED)

Speaker: Manuel Wittner

Institution: Heidelberg University

Title: Stringy axions and the Hydra of dark radiation

Abstract: The QCD axion represents arguably the most prominent solution to the strong CP problem. On the other hand, string theory as a candidate for an underlying theory beyond the standard model provides a plethora of axion-like fields, one of which could indeed play the role of the QCD axion. Nevertheless, the construction of phenomenologically viable models in the preferred parameter range has proven to be notoriously difficult. In this talk, I am going to elaborate on the difficulties one has to overcome when constructing stringy axion models. A promising setting, that can achieve the preferred smallness of the axion decay constant, is the large volume scenario, which is generally plagued by the issue of too much dark radiation, however. The latter typically arises from decays of the overall volume modulus into its own axion. I am going to present a novel possibility to overcome this issue via an enhanced decay rate of the volume modulus into SM Higgses. Further consequences of the latter will be discussed in more detail.

31st May 2022

Speaker: Juan Garcia-Bellido

Institution: Autonomous University of Madrid

Title: Covariant formulation of non-equilibrium thermodynamics in General Relativity: Cosmic Acceleration from First Principles

Abstract: We construct a generally-covariant formulation of non-equilibrium thermodynamics in General Relativity. We find covariant entropic forces arising from gradients of the entropy density, and a corresponding non-conservation of the energy momentum tensor in terms of these forces. We also provide a Hamiltonian formulation of General Relativity in the context of non-equilibrium phenomena and write the Raychaudhuri equations for a congruence of geodesics. We find that a fluid satisfying the strong energy condition could avoid collapse for a positive and sufficiently large entropic-force contribution. We then study the forces arising from gradients of the bulk entropy of hydrodynamical matter, as well as the entropy of boundary terms in the action, like those of black hole horizons. We apply the covariant formulation of non-equilibrium thermodynamics to the expanding universe and obtain the modified Friedmann equations, with an extra term corresponding to an entropic force satisfying the second law of thermodynamics. General relativistic entropic acceleration theory may explain the present cosmic acceleration from first principles without the need of introducing a cosmological constant. Following the covariant formulation of non-equilibrium phenomena in the context of a homogeneous and isotropic Friedmann-Lemaitre-Robertson-Walker (FLRW) metric, we find that the growth of entropy associated with the causal horizon of our universe (inside a finite bubble in eternal inflation) induces an acceleration that is essentially indistinguishable from that of ΛCDM, except for a slightly larger present rate of expansion compared to what would be expected from the CMB in ΛCDM, possibly solving the so-called H0 tension. The matter content of the universe is unchanged and the coincidence problem is resolved since it is the growth of the causal horizon of matter that introduces this new relativistic entropic force. The cosmological constant is made unnecessary and the future hypersurface is Minkowsky rather than de Sitter. We compare our predictions with CMB, BAO, SNIa and H(z) data and find that General Relativistic Entropic Acceleration Theory does significantly better than ΛCDM for the same data set.

24th May 2022

Speaker: Tomi Koivisto

Institution: University of Tartu

Title: Symmetric teleparallelism

Abstract: Alternative geometrical formulations of General Relativity and the corresponding alternative interpretations of the gravitational interaction are reviewed. It is argued that the so called “symmetric teleparallel” geometry represents the canonical formulation which could clarify the problem of gravitational energy. Modified gravity models in this framework are shown to have cosmological applications but also theoretical problems. A new approach is described, wherein the teleparallelism is the low-energy limit of a massive gauge theory of gravity.

17th May 2022

Speaker: Fabian Schmidt

Institution: Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Garching

Title: New approaches to galaxy clustering

Abstract: All large-scale structure cosmologists are faced with the question: how do we robustly extract cosmological information, such as on dark energy, gravity, and inflation, from tracers such as galaxies whose astrophysics is extremely complex and incompletely understood? Based on advances in our theoretical understanding of large-scale structure, we now know how to absorb these complexities into free “nuisance” parameters on large scales. This opens up the possibility for physically robust cosmology inference from galaxy clustering. However, to really make use of the power of this approach, we have to go beyond current analyses based on the power spectrum. I will describe a novel approach that attempts to extract the information in the entire galaxy density field, rather than compressing it into summary statistics, while robustly marginalizing over the complexities of galaxy formation.

10th May 2022, 09:00 am (NOTE UNUSUAL TIME)

Speaker: Leonardo Giani

Institution: University of Queensland

Title: Bianchi IX structure formation and the Cosmic Web Crystal: Ising model for Large Scale Structures

Abstract: We propose a model of gravitational collapse of matter inhomogeneities where the latter have the geometry of the Bianchi IX spacetime. Such a model generalize, and encompass, both the spherical collapse and the Zeldovich solution. We study how these models are affected by small anisotropies within the BIX potential. In the spherical collapse case the anisotropies effectively shift the value of the FLRW spatial curvature, and we estimate their impact on the number density of haloes using the Press-Schechter formalism. When we consider within the BIX ansatz small deviations from the Zeldovich solution, our qualitative analysis suggests that the so called pancakes exhibit oscillatory behavior, as would be expected in the case of a vacuum BIX spacetime. Since the symmetry of BIX is the spin group SU(2), we speculate that Dark Matter halos may possess the gravitational equivalent of an intrinsic magnetic spin, independent from their orbital angular momentum, just like electrons in quantum mechanics. In this picture, a formal analogy exists between the low redshift behaviour of the Cosmic Web in a flat FLRW background, and a crystal of spins submerged in a thermal reservoir with temperature $T \propto H(t)$. We explore the phenomenological implications on cosmological scales of a possible late time phase transition of the Cosmic Web towards (the gravitational equivalent of) a ferromagnetic state, described qualitatively using the Ising model in the mean field approximation.

03rd May 2022

Speaker: Sunny Vagnozzi

Institution: University of Cambridge

Title: Searching for dark energy off the beaten track

Abstract: Most of the efforts in searching for dark energy (DE) have focused on its gravitational signatures, and in particular on constraining its equation of state. However, there is a lot one can potentially learn about dark energy and more generally ultralight particles by getting off the beaten track, which I will discuss in this three-part talk. In the first part, I will focus on non-gravitational interactions of DE with visible matter, which lead to the possibility of “direct detection of dark energy” (analogous to direct detection of dark matter): I will argue that such interactions can and potentially may already have been detected in underground detectors such as XENON1T, while discussing complementary cosmological and astrophysical signatures. In the second part, I will argue for the importance of early- and late-time consistency tests of LCDM: I will present two such tests based on the early ISW effect and the ages of the oldest astrophysical objects, and discuss implications for the Hubble tension and (early and late) DE. In the final part, if time allows, I will discuss new ways to probe ultralight particles (which may be connected to either dark energy or dark matter), using black hole shadows and planetary objects such as asteroids, trans-Neptunian objects, and exoplanets.

26th April 2022

Speaker: Dominik Schwarz

Institution: Bielefeld University

Title: Inferring the cosmic rest-frame from supernovae Ia

Abstract: The isotropic component of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) singles out a frame that is commonly associated with a cosmic rest-frame. At first, this is just a hypothesis that must be tested by means of the anisotropies of the CMB and by non-CMB probes. Among those are surveys that contain large numbers of distant extragalactic objects and leave us with an inconclusive picture. We used the Pantheon sample and infer the SNIa rest-frame together with a set of cosmological parameters. We find reasonable agreement with the rest-frame inferred from the CMB dipole anisotropy and disagree with a kinematic interpretation of results found from quasars and radio galaxies. The inferred solar velocity is $249 \pm 51$ km/s, which is $2.4 \sigma$ smaller than the CMB based value (370 km/s). We point out that larger supernova Ia samples will allow us to significantly reduce the uncertainties of the test. For details see Horstmann et al. 2021, arxiv:2111.03055.

29th March 2022 (CANCELLED)

Speaker: Sunny Vagnozzi

Institution: University of Cambridge

Title: Searching for dark energy off the beaten track

Abstract: Most of the efforts in searching for dark energy (DE) have focused on its gravitational signatures, and in particular on constraining its equation of state. However, there is a lot one can potentially learn about dark energy and more generally ultralight particles by getting off the beaten track, which I will discuss in this three-part talk. In the first part, I will focus on non-gravitational interactions of DE with visible matter, which lead to the possibility of “direct detection of dark energy” (analogous to direct detection of dark matter): I will argue that such interactions can and potentially may already have been detected in underground detectors such as XENON1T, while discussing complementary cosmological and astrophysical signatures. In the second part, I will argue for the importance of early- and late-time consistency tests of LCDM: I will present two such tests based on the early ISW effect and the ages of the oldest astrophysical objects, and discuss implications for the Hubble tension and (early and late) DE. In the final part, if time allows, I will discuss new ways to probe ultralight particles (which may be connected to either dark energy or dark matter), using black hole shadows and planetary objects such as asteroids, trans-Neptunian objects, and exoplanets.

08th March 2022

Speaker: Phil Bull

Institution: Queen Mary University of London and University of the Western Cape

Title: Mapping neutral hydrogen through the ages: Latest results from HERA and MeerKAT

Abstract: Neutral hydrogen has persisted in large quantities for much of cosmic history, making it one of very few tracers able to connect the early and late Universe. The advent of large, highly-sensitive radio arrays and recent methodological developments places us on the cusp of being able to map out the neutral hydrogen distribution all the way from redshift 0 to 20 and above, via the 21cm emission line. In this talk, I will highlight recent developments from two 21cm experiments – the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array, which targets Cosmic Dawn and the Epoch of Reionisation, and MeerKAT, which targets low-redshift baryon acoustic oscillations.

01st February 2022

Speaker: Isobel Hook

Institution: Lancaster University

Title: Cosmology with supernovae: past, present and future

Abstract: In this talk I will give an overview of the use of Type Ia supernovae in cosmology. I will briefly describe the work that led to the 1998 discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe, and some of the major supernova surveys that have been carried out since then to better understand the cause of the acceleration. I will then describe current efforts to find and study large samples of supernovae at the highest redshifts observable with current telescopes, at z>1. Finally, I will discuss the exciting prospects and challenges for supernova cosmology with upcoming facilities including the Rubin Observatory, 4MOST, Euclid and the European Extremely Large Telescope.

26th January 2021, 10:00 am (NOTE UNUSUAL DAY AND TIME)

Speaker: Eleonora Di Valentino

Institution: School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sheffield

Title: Cosmological tensions: hints for a new concordance model?

Abstract: The Cosmic Microwave Background temperature and polarization anisotropy measurements have provided strong confirmation of the LCDM model of structure formation. Even if this model can explain incredibly well the observations in a vast range of scales and epochs, with the increase of the experimental sensitivity, a few interesting tensions between the cosmological probes, and anomalies in the CMB data, have emerged with different statistical significance. While some portion of these discrepancies may be due to systematic errors, their persistence across probes strongly hints at cracks in the standard LCDM cosmological scenario. The most statistically significant are the Hubble constant puzzle, the S8 parameter tensions, the Alens anomaly and a curvature of the Universe. I will review these tensions, showing some interesting extended cosmological scenarios that can alleviate them.

25th January 2022

Speaker: Elisa Ferreira

Institution: University of Sao Paulo and Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Garching

Title: Ultra-light dark matter: the light and fuzzy side of dark matter

Abstract: Among the many possible candidates for the nature of dark matter, one of the most well-motivated class of models and leading candidate is the ultra-light dark matter. This class represents the lightest possible dark matter candidates and exhibits a wave-like behavior on galactic scales. This leads to a rich phenomenology on small scales that can potentially not only reconcile the CDM picture with the small-scale behavior of dark matter but offer us the unique possibility to probe their distinctive predictions and imprints that can reveal clues about the internal properties of dark matter. In this talk, I will review this class of models, describing and classifying the different constructions and their phenomenology. I will give special attention to the fuzzy dark matter, which is the simplest and most studied of these models. Given their vast cosmological and astrophysical effects on observables, I will describe the ongoing advances in constraining these models using current gravitational tests, and highlight the strong constraining power of small-scale astrophysical observations. I will show the latest constraints and how with this we are narrowing down the mass range available for these models.

19th January 2022, 9:00 am (NOTE UNUSUAL DAY AND TIME)

Speaker: Shinji Tsujikawa

Institution: Waseda University, Tokyo

Title: Probing elastic interactions between dark energy and dark matter

Abstract: We consider a cosmological scenario where the dark sector is described by two perfect fluids that interact through a velocity-dependent coupling. This coupling gives rise to an interaction in the dark sector driven by the relative velocity of the components, thus making the background evolution oblivious to the interaction and only the perturbed Euler equations are affected at first order. We obtain the equations governing this system with the Schutz-Sorkin Lagrangian formulation for perfect fluids and derive the corresponding stability conditions to avoid ghosts and Laplacian instabilities. We study a model where dark energy behaves as a radiation fluid at high redshift while it effectively becomes a cosmological constant in the late Universe. Within this scenario, the interaction of both dark components leads to a suppression of the dark matter clustering at late times. Using cosmic microwave background (CMB), baryon acoustic oscillations (BAOs), and supernovae type Ia (SnIa) data, we show that the sigma_8 tension present in the Λ-Cold-Dark-Matter model can be alleviated by the weaker galaxy clustering, with the Hubble tension eased by the existence of additional radiation. While CMB+BAO+SnIa data put only upper bounds on the coupling strength, adding low-redshift data in the form of a constraint on the parameter S_8 strongly favours nonvanishing values of the interaction parameters. Our findings are in line with other results in the literature that could signal a universal trend of the momentum exchange among the dark sector.

11th January 2022

Speaker: Miguel Quartin

Institution: Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and Heidelberg University

Title: Reaching precision cosmology faster with velocities

Abstract: Peculiar velocity surveys using supernovae or standard sirens can be combined with large-scale galaxy surveys to great benefit. I will present a new methodology to analyse in a comprehensive way standard candles and galaxy data at the linear level. I will show that this methodology also allows for competitive model-independent measurements of the expansion rate H(z)/H_0, i.e. without any assumptions on the cosmological model besides the FLRW metric. For supernovae, I will provide forecasts for future surveys like 4MOST, DESI and LSST, and show that the new approach shrinks the uncertainty in growth of structure parameters considerably when compared to the traditional method using only galaxies. The combined clustering and velocity data on the growth of structures has uncertainties at similar levels to those of the CMB but exhibit orthogonal degeneracies, and the combined constraints yield improvements of factors of 5 in each of the five cosmological parameters considered. I will also discuss the capabilities of standard sirens observed with the Einstein Telescope or Cosmic Explorer.

21st December 2021 (CANCELLED)

Speaker: Eleonora Di Valentino

Institution: School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Sheffield

Title: Cosmological tensions: hints for a new concordance model?

Abstract: The Cosmic Microwave Background temperature and polarization anisotropy measurements have provided strong confirmation of the LCDM model of structure formation. Even if this model can explain incredibly well the observations in a vast range of scales and epochs, with the increase of the experimental sensitivity, a few interesting tensions between the cosmological probes, and anomalies in the CMB data, have emerged with different statistical significance. While some portion of these discrepancies may be due to systematic errors, their persistence across probes strongly hints at cracks in the standard LCDM cosmological scenario. The most statistically significant are the Hubble constant puzzle, the S8 parameter tensions, the Alens anomaly and a curvature of the Universe. I will review these tensions, showing some interesting extended cosmological scenarios that can alleviate them.

14th December 2021

Speaker: Ema Dimastrogiovanni

Institution: University of Groningen

Title: Testing inflation with small-scale anisotropies

Abstract: Inflation predicts a stochastic background of gravitational waves. In this talk I will discuss how anisotropies in the gravitational wave energy density can be a powerful tool in characterizing the inflationary gravitational wave background and potentially distinguishing it from backgrounds due to other sources.

7th December 2021


30th November 2021

Speaker: Nima Khosravi

Institution: Department of Physics, Shahid Beheshti University

Title: Does cosmological tensions hint new physics in the dark energy sector?

Abstract: First, I will review the cosmological tensions including H0, S8, CMB (spatial) anomalies, very briefly. Then I will introduce the Ginzburg-Landau theory of dark energy which is based on the physics of critical phenomena. I will show how one can think about the cosmological tensions in the framework of GLTofDE (and some other related ideas). Finally, I will present our very recent results on the CMB-lensing anomaly in the GLTofDE model.

24th November 2021, 4:30 pm (NOTE UNUSUAL DAY AND TIME)

Speaker: Hermano Velten

Institution: Federal University of Ouro Preto

Title: Early-time thermalization of cosmic components? A hint for solving cosmic tensions

Abstract: We study an expanding two-fluid model of nonrelativistic dark matter and radiation, which are allowed to interact during a certain time span and to establish an approximate thermal equilibrium. Such an interaction, which generates an effective bulk viscous pressure at background level, is expected to be relevant for times around the transition from radiation to matter dominance. We quantify the magnitude of this pressure for dark-matter particle masses within the range 1  eV≲mχ≲10  eV around the matter-radiation equality epoch (i.e., redshift zeq∼3400) and demonstrate that the existence of a transient bulk viscosity has consequences which may be relevant for addressing current tensions of the standard cosmological model: (i) the additional (negative) pressure contribution modifies the expansion rate around zeq, yielding a larger H0 value, and (ii) large-scale structure formation is impacted by suppressing the amplitude of matter overdensity growth via a new viscous friction-term contribution to the Mészáros effect. As a result, the H0 and S8 tensions of the current standard cosmological model are both significantly alleviated. Talk based on Hermano Velten, Ingrid Costa, and Winfried Zimdahl Phys. Rev. D 104, 063507.

23rd November 2021

Speaker: Davi C. Rodrigues

Institution: Federal University of Espírito Santo

Title: Post-Newtonian γ-like parameters and the slip: differences and consequences for future observations

Abstract: After a brief review on the fundamentals of the PPN gamma parameter (γ) and the gravitational slip (η), which are sometimes used interchangeably, the usefulness of a gamma-like parameter used by Berry and Gair (γΣ) is stressed. The latter, if constant, parametrizes the bending of light and the Shapiro time delay in situations in which the standard γ cannot be used, while η has different physical consequences. Examples will be shown with f(R) and scalar-tensor theories. A relevant physical context in which such differences are crucial is that of distant galaxies. We show that, under an analytical approximation, γΣ is necessarily a constant for Horndeski theories. This constancy can in principle be tested in other galaxies without assumptions on a valid Newtonian limit, for instance by using high precision double Einstein ring systems.

17th November 2021 (NOTE UNUSUAL DAY)

Speaker: Francesca Lepori

Institution: Institute for Computational Science, University of Zurich

Title: Hunting down relativistic effects on cosmological scales

Abstract: In this talk I will discuss the imprints of General Relativity on cosmological observations and their relevance for future large-scale structure experiments. In the first part, I will introduce the perturbative description of the relativistic effects in the galaxy clustering observable, the number counts. These relativistic effects are corrections to the newtonian approximation due to the geodesic motion of photons, which travel in a clumpy universe from the source to the observer. In the linear regime, they include redshift-space distortions, lensing magnification, Doppler and gravitational redshift corrections. I will show that some of these effects will have a significant impact on future cosmological surveys. In the second part, I will describe a relativistic and non-perturbative method to extract large-scale structure observables from N-body simulations. I will then discuss two applications of this machinery: the weak-lensing observables and the number counts. Finally, I will draw some future developments of these works.

16th November 2021

Speaker: Alessio Spurio Mancini

Institution: University College London

Title: CosmoPower: emulating cosmological power spectra for accelerated Bayesian inference from next-generation surveys

Abstract: In this talk I will present CosmoPower, a suite of neural cosmological power spectrum emulators that replace the computation of power spectra from Boltzmann codes, thus providing orders-of-magnitude acceleration for parameter estimation from two-point statistics analyses of Large-Scale Structure (LSS) and Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) surveys. CosmoPower is showcased on a joint cosmic shear and galaxy clustering analysis from the Kilo-Degree Survey (KiDS), as well as on a Stage IV Euclid-like simulated cosmic shear analysis. For the CMB case, CosmoPower is tested on a Planck 2018 CMB temperature and polarisation analysis. CosmoPower always accurately recovers the fiducial cosmological constraints, while providing a speed-up factor of up to 10^4 to the complete inference pipeline. This acceleration allows posterior distributions to be recovered in just a few seconds. I will finish by showing the even greater speed ups that can be obtained by using CosmoPower to constrain beyond-LCDM cosmologies with current and future datasets, including the example of an interacting dark energy model constrained with the latest KiDS data as well as with a simulated Euclid-like setup.

9th November 2021

Speaker: Cornelius Rampf

Institution: Departments of Mathematics & Astrophysics, University of Vienna

Title: Cosmic large-scale structure — theory meets numerics

Abstract: In this talk I focus on two advancements in the theoretical modelling of the non-linear cosmic large-scale structure. Firstly, I report on recent mathematical progress on resolving the crossing of cold-dark-matter trajectories — an instant that is accompanied by formally infinite matter densities. In this context I show how, and under which circumstances, perturbation theory can be pushed to the very extreme, such that its predictions agree with those of N-body simulations, thereby considerably closing the gap between theory and numerics. Secondly, by exploiting a conjectured correspondence, I show how a Schrödinger description can be employed to obtain the wavefunction of the large-scale dark-matter distribution. Amongst other things, this wavefunction can be directly used to generate accurate initial conditions for cosmological hydrodynamical simulations.

2nd November 2021

Speaker: Santiago Casas

Institution: Institute for Theoretical Particle Physics and Cosmology (TTK), RWTH Aachen University

Title: Constraining parametrized modifications of gravity using galaxy clustering, weak lensing and intensity mapping with SKA-Phase1 and its synergies with optical surveys

Abstract: Large scale structure will be in the next decade one of the main probes to study cosmology, due to its high information content in scales and redshifts. Optical surveys, like Euclid and Vera Rubin will use galaxy shapes, redshifts and angular positions to estimate the galaxy clustering and cosmic shear matter power spectrum. With the advent of SKA and its revolutionary improvements in radio astronomy, we will be able to measure not only galaxy positions and redshifts, but also the 21cm intensity map of neutral Hydrogen, which will provide an independent set of observations on the large scale structures of the Universe with a very precise redshift estimation. Given the possible synergies between optical and radio observations, we want to estimate in this work how well future experiments will be able to measure deviations beyond our standard cosmological model LCDM. For these forecasts we use the SKA-Phase 1 specifications and we combine a continuum survey for weak lensing and angular galaxy clustering with an HI galaxy survey for spectroscopic galaxy clustering that can detect baryon acoustic oscillations and redshift space distortions. On top of this we show how well 21cm intensity mapping can measure these modified gravity parameters and break degeneracies with respect to the other probes. We combine these radio probes with other optical surveys, such as Euclid, Vera Rubin and DESI, also exploring the cross-correlation between Galaxy Clustering and Intensity Mapping in different surveys and overlapping redshift bins. We show in which cases we gain information by combining these probes and in which cases these synergies don't improve the constraints, but are still powerful tools to remove systematics and degeneracies in the modelling of the observables.

13th July 2021

Speaker: Francesco Pace

Institution: Università di Bologna; Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, University of Manchester

Title: Phenomenology of the dark sector

Abstract: Despite being the standard cosmological model (general relativity plus cosmological costant) a rather good explanation for the current observations, it is nevertheless affected by some problems, both from a theoretical and an observational point of view. Therefore, and also to better understand gravity, models beyond the LCDM are actively investigated. In this talk, I will concentrate on the dark sector which generically indicates the component, be it a fluid or a modification to gravity, invoked to accelerate the expansion of the universe. I will first briefly present the Equation of State approach, a tool developed to study linear perturbations of dark energy/modified gravity models considering them as a fluid with non-trivial properties and then show its applications, compared also to other techniques, for three selected cases of interest; f(R) models, gravitational waves and a validation of the quasi-static approximation for Horndeski models

6th July 2021

Speaker: Kazuya Koyama

Institution: Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth

Title: General relativistic weak-field limit and Newtonian N-body simulations

Abstract: Future galaxy surveys such as Euclid, LSST and SKA will cover larger and larger scales where general relativistic effects become important. On the other hand, our study of large scale structure still relies on Newtonian N-body simulations. I explain how standard Newtonian N-body simulations can be interpreted in terms of the weak-field limit of general relativity. Our framework allows the inclusion of radiation perturbations and the non-linear evolution of matter. I show you how to construct the weak-field metric by combining Newtonian simulations with results from Einstein-Boltzmann codes and discuss observational effects on weak lensing and ray tracing, identifying important relativistic corrections. Finally, I demonstrate that this framework can be extended to gravitational theories beyond general relativity.

29th June 2021

Speaker: Max Tegmark

Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Title: AI for physics & physics for AI

Abstract: A central goal of physics is to discover mathematical patterns in data. For example, after four years of analyzing data tables on planetary orbits, Johannes Kepler started a scientific revolution in 1605 by discovering that Mars' orbit was an ellipse. I describe how we can automate such tasks with machine learning and not only discover symbolic formulas accurately matching datasets (so-called symbolic regression), equations of motion and conserved quantities, but also auto-discover which degrees of freedom are most useful for predicting time evolution (for example, optimal generalized coordinates extracted from video data). The methods I present exploit numerous ideas from physics to recursively simplify neural networks, ranging from symmetries to differentiable manifolds, curvature and topological defects, and also take advantage of mathematical insights from knot theory and graph modularity.

23rd June 2021 (3:00 pm) [NOTE UNUSAL DATE AND TIME]

Speaker: Laura Wolz

Institution: Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, University of Manchester

Title: Cold gas constraints via HI Intensity Mapping

Abstract: Intensity mapping surveys of neutral hydrogen (HI) are a new way to measure the large-scale matter distribution of our Universe over a wide range of redshifts, and thus constrain cosmological parameters describing the Universal expansion. The next generation of radio telescopes and interferometers are being designed and built to optimise the detection of the HI line at low spatial resolution allowing efficient mapping of large volumes. The impact of instrumental systematics of radio observations on cosmological measurements can be significantly reduced by cross-correlating the HI signal with galaxy surveys. The cross-correlation also offers new ways to measure correlations between HI and properties of the optically-selected galaxy samples. I will give an introduction into the HI intensity mapping technique and prospects of the on-going and future experiments, such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). I will showcase studies on the potential of future intensity mapping experiments in constraining HI properties, such as the global HI density as well as HI scaling relations in galaxies. I will also present the latest HI intensity mapping detection of Green Bank Telescope data in cross-correlation with the SDSS eBOSS galaxy survey samples.

22nd June 2021

Speaker: Roy Maartens

Institution: University of the Western Cape

Title: Cosmological surveys with the SKA

Abstract: I will describe the exciting prospects for advances in cosmology with the advent of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which will open a new window on the cosmos and cover larger cosmic volumes than ever before. The combination of optical surveys like Euclid and the Rubin Observatory (LSST) with the SKA promises to provide excellent precision in measuring Dark Energy and Dark Matter. But in addition, SKA surveys will deliver a new capacity to make tests of the foundations of our model of the Universe. In particular, I will discuss probing the primordial Universe via fossil signals in the galaxy distribution, and testing the Cosmological Principle via radio galaxies.

15th June 2021

Speaker: Suhail Dhawan

Institution: University of Cambridge

Title: Cosmology with Type Ia supernovae: A view from the Zwicky Transient Facility

Abstract: Type Ia supernovae are excellent stellar explosions that have been developed for precision cosmology. Calibrating their absolute luminosity with the local distance ladder indicates a value of the Hubble constant in tension with the inference from the early universe. In my talk, I will present recent work on the impact of non-standard dark energy models on the inference local $H_0$. I will showcase recent results and ongoing work with the Year 1 sample of SNe Ia from the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). ZTF is an untargeted search and follow-up of hundreds of SNe Ia, with the aim of uniquely controlling systematic uncertainties in cosmology.

Complementary to the SNe Ia Hubble diagram, I will present work to compute time-delays, lensing magnification for the first strongly lensed SN Ia, iPTF16geu. Lensed SNe are an excellent, independent probe of $H_0$ as well as the matter distribution and dust in high-$z$ galaxies. I will preview some ongoing work to find a sample of lensed SNe with the ZTF survey.

8th June 2021

Speaker: Daniela Doneva

Institution: Theoretical Astrophysics, IAAT, University of Tübingen, and INRNE—Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Title: Nonlinear development of black hole scalar hair

Abstract: Black holes are the ideal testbed for probing the strong field regime of gravity. Particularly interesting are classes of extended scalar-tensor theories that are perturbatively equivalent to general relativity in the weak field regime while leading to nonlinear development of a scalar field for strong gravity, that is the so-called scalarization. In my talk I will discuss such scalarized black hole solutions and their dynamical formation. I will focus on their astrophysical implications and the viability of the corresponding extended scalar-tensor theory within cosmological context.

1st June 2021

Speaker: Joan Solà Peracaula

Institution: Departament de Física Quàntica i Astrofísica, and Institute of Cosmos Sciences, Universitat de Barcelona

Title: Running vacuum: theoretical aspects and application to the $H_0$ and $\sigma_8$ tensions

Abstract: The vacuum energy in cosmology is a most subtle concept which has challenged theoretical physicists and cosmologists for many decades. The problem stems from the interpretation of the cosmological constant term, $\Lambda$, in Einstein's equations as a term being connected with the notion of vacuum energy density in quantum field theory (QFT). Its renormalization is usually plagued with theoretical pitfalls. Apart from these formal issues, a variety of practical problems or “tensions” besiege the concordance or $\Lambda$CDM model, in particular the $H_0$ and $\sigma_8$ tensions. I will consider the class of running vacuum models (RVMs), which can describe inflation followed by essentially the standard model evolution. The vacuum energy density takes the form of a constant plus a series of (even) powers of the Hubble rate, which can be motivated theoretically on several accounts. In addition, the RVM's can help to alleviate the mentioned tensions and predict that the dark energy is mildly dynamical and appears effectively as quintessence.

25th May 2021

Speaker: Andrew Robertson

Institution: Institute for Computational Cosmology, Durham University

Title: Probing the nature of dark matter with galaxy clusters

Abstract: I will begin with a brief discussion of dwarf galaxy rotation curves, outlining a number of proposed mechanisms for producing their ‘puzzling diversity’ (the fact that some appear to have constant density dark matter ‘cores', while others have centrally-concentrated ‘cusps'). One of these possibilities is that dark matter is more complicated than CDM, with self-interacting dark matter (SIDM) able to modify the distribution of dark matter in the centres of galaxies. SIDM would not only affect dwarf galaxies, but more massive systems as well. I will present the first large-volume, cosmological simulations including both SIDM and baryonic physics. SIDM has little effect on the distribution of gas and stars within massive galaxies and galaxy clusters. However, gravitational lensing observables can discriminate between dark matter models, and I will show how the distribution of Einstein radii can be used to constrain the SIDM cross-section. I will discuss using these simulations to test analytic methods for modelling SIDM density profiles in the presence of baryons, before presenting future tests of SIDM, including using strong lensing by galaxy-cluster substructures.

18th May 2021

Speaker: Ue-Li Pen

Institution: Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics

Title: Wave Optics Lensing: cosmology and fundamental physics from gravitational and plasma lensing of FRBs and other coherent sources

Abstract: I describe recent progress in wave optics lensing theory and observation. Picard-Lefschetz theory enables the wave optics inverse problem of reconstructing lens properties from observed interference patterns, including ’tunnelling' from imaginary images. This opens up probing dark matter properties, tests of gravitational theories, measurement of cosmic geometry, and more.

11th May 2021

Speaker: Hendrik Hildebrandt

Institution: Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Title: Precision measurements of large-scale structure challenge the standard model of cosmology

Abstract: The gravitational lensing effect of all the massive structures in the Universe distorts our view of the sky. These distortions can be used to map the structures irrespective of their physical composition, essentially giving us a tool to make dark matter visible. The statistical properties of the matter field contain lots of information on the underlying cosmological model. Recent precision measurements of this cosmic shear effect show a potentially interesting discrepancy to measurements of the cosmic microwave background with the Planck satellite, similar to the by now well-known tension in the Hubble parameter. If this discrepancy holds after further scrutiny it might pose a serious challenge to the standard model of cosmology. In this talk I will review the basics of cosmic shear, present the most recent results from such measurements, and discuss the challenges in their interpretation. Furthermore, I will give an outlook on the immediate future of this field of research as well as the next decade that will see unprecedented results from so-called stage-IV surveys.

4th May 2021

Speaker: Matteo Martinelli

Institution: Instituto de Física Teórica, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM-CSIC)

Title: Testing the assumptions of the standard cosmological model: the case of the Distance Duality Relation

Abstract: Despite the availability of several cosmological models alternative to the standard LCDM, and the presence of observational tensions in the context of this model, still no alternative is preferred over standard cosmology. This might indicate that in order to solve the current observational issues, one might need to relax some of the fundamental assumptions that are at the foundation of the LCDM model. A direct consequence of some of these assumptions is the Distance Duality Relation (DDR), relating the different cosmological distances with each other, which might breakdown in extended theories, e.g. when photons are coupled to beyond standard model particles. In this talk I will discuss how upcoming cosmological surveys will be able to improve current constraints on the DDR, showing both the impact of observational improvements and how new observational windows (standard sirens and strong lensing) will provide new opportunities and new challenges.

27th April 2021

Speaker: Prasenjit Saha

Institution: Institute for Computational Science and Physics Institute, University of Zurich

Title: Quasars canons and the Hubble constant

Abstract: Follow the link for the first video abstract of this seminar:

20th April 2021

Speaker: Jordi Salvadó

Institution: Departament de Física Quàntica i Astrofísica and Institut de Ciències del Cosmos, Universitat de Barcelona

Title: Long Range Interactions in Cosmology: Implications for Neutrinos

Abstract: Cosmology is well suited to study the effects of long range interactions due to the large densities in the early Universe. In this talk, we will explore how the energy density and equation of state of a fermion system diverge from the commonly assumed ideal gas form under the presence of scalar long range interactions with a range much smaller than cosmological scales. In this scenario, “small”-scale physics can impact our largest-scale observations. We will apply the formalism to self-interacting neutrinos, performing an analysis to present and future cosmological data. The results will show that the current cosmological neutrino mass bound is fully avoided in the presence of a long range interaction, opening the possibility for a laboratory neutrino mass detection in the near future. We will also see an interesting complementarity between neutrino laboratory experiments and the future EUCLID survey.

13th April 2021

Speaker: Jenny Wagner

Institution: Institut für Theoretische Physik (ITP) Heidelberg

Title: Lensing of '69 – free strong gravitational lensing from its heuristic models

Abstract: In this talk I will give an introduction into observation-based strong gravitational lensing to infer local light-distorting properties of the deflecting mass density without any a priori assumptions about the deflecting mass density profile. Upcoming galaxy cluster surveys e.g. based on JWST will be able to exploit this approach well. Since data remains sparse until then, I will also show how the most common mass density profiles, in particular the Navarro-Frenk-White profile, can be derived from fundamental physical principles. Most of them are currently based on heuristical fitting functions inferred from simulations.

2nd March 2021

Speaker: Raquel Emy Fazolo

Institution: Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (UFES)

Title: Skewness as a test for dark energy perturbations

Abstract: In previous work we noticed a significant signature of dark energy perturbations in the skewness of the matter distribution when dealing with a single fluid universe. Now in a more recent study we take a more general approach dividing the universe in two fluids (one of matter and other of dark energy) and reach in a more general set of equations until the second order of perturbation levels to study this same effect. The results show a different scenario from previous work, indicating a closer result (compared to the other work) to $\Lambda$CDM than before, showing that this more general approach affects in a significant way the behavior of dark energy perturbations. We are also interested in providing an approximation to calculate this effect fitting our results in terms of $\Omega_m$ and the equation of state for dark energy $w_{de}$ and study dark energy models with these equations. We are also applying modified gravity to test its effects in this set of equations and making the fits with these new variables.

23th February 2021

Speaker: Caroline Heneka

Institution: University of Hamburg

Title: Deep learning for 'cosmological imaging'

Abstract: Deep learning is increasingly applied as well to cosmological studies, due to its ability of modelling e.g. complex and 'big data' imaging problems in a data-driven fashion. After reviewing recent deep learning studies, I will highlight two applications in particular, the use of deep neural networks to estimate the photometry and shape of galaxies in monochrome space images, similar to the ones that will be delivered by the Euclid space telescope, as well as the direct parameter inference from intensity maps and even tomopraphic imaging (such as 21cm measurements expected for the Square Kilometre Array), that naturally includes information beyond the power spectrum.

16th February 2021

Speaker: Luca Amendola

Institution: Institut für Theoretische Physik (ITP) Heidelberg

Title: Measuring H(z) independently of cosmology

Abstract: I discuss a recent proposal to measure H(z) independently of any assumption concerning the underlying cosmological model, based on standard candles and their spatial and velocity correlations (see arXiv:1912.10255).

9th February 2021

Speaker: Balakrishna S. Haridasu

Institution: SISSA-International School for Advanced Studies

Title: Late- and early-time modifications to resolve $H_0$ tension

Abstract: In this talk, I shall discuss the implications of a few late-time and early-time modifications suggested to alleviate the $H_0$ tension, which is now arriving to a significance of $\sim 5 \sigma$. Contrasting the physics against data these proposals have been put forth as possible resolutions. However, a deeper look at the physics and relevant data from the epochs at which the physics is modified, might not support the claims. We find that the late-time decaying dark matter resolution is indeed unable to resolve the tension. On the other hand, the early time physics within the Cosmic Microwave Background data doesn't show any evidence for the early-time dark energy scenario. We speculate that the possible resolutions for this tension should be looked within the late-time physics and low-$l$ modeling within the CMB analysis.

5th February 2021 (11:00 am) [NOTE UNUSAL DATE AND TIME]

Speaker: Eoin Ó. Colgáin

Institution: Physics Dept., Sogang University, Seoul

Title: Some comments on $H_0$

Abstract: Hubble tension brings model building back into fashion. I will review arguments for and against early Universe resolutions to Hubble tension. I will comment on how one attempts to make model independent statements. Finally, I will spell out the implications for your friendly neighbourhood string theorist (or swamplander).

26th January 2021

Speaker: David Camarena

Institution: Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (UFES)

Title: Can a $\Lambda$LTB model explain the Hubble tension?

Abstract: Despite current standard cosmology assumes we live in a homogeneous and isotropic universe, inhomogeneous models have been largely considered throughout cosmological history, mainly to explain the accelerated expansion of the universe. Although these models have not survived as an alternative to dark energy, they have been lately presented as a possible solution to the Hubble tension, due they allow for a transition to higher values of the Hubble constant at low redshift. In this talk, I will discuss if the current data supports a inhomogenous $\Lambda$LTB model and if this model is a plausible solution to the Hubble constant problem.

19th January 2021

Speaker: Adrià Gómez-Valent

Institution: Institut für Theoretische Physik (ITP) Heidelberg

Title: Boosting Monte Carlo sampling with a non-Gaussian fit

Abstract: Monte Carlo analyses are a key ingredient in many branches of natural and social sciences. Also in cosmology. They are typically used to sample posterior distributions (built from data) in high-dimensional parameter spaces and infer the confidence regions of the parameters that enter the model under study. When the evaluation of the likelihood is computationally expensive, Monte Carlo analyses can demand prohibitive computational times, even with the use of powerful clusters. In this talk I will describe a new method, called Monte Carlo Posterior Fit, which allows to reduce in some cases an order of magnitude the time spent in the Monte Carlo sampling process. The idea is to approximate the posterior function by an analytical multidimensional non-Gaussian fit. The many free parameters of this fit can be obtained by a smaller sampling than is needed to derive the full numerical posterior, and the evaluation of the resulting analytical distribution can be quite faster than the original one. I will show some examples of the performance of this method in cosmology, based on supernovae and cosmic microwave background data. The method was recently introduced by Prof. Amendola and me in arXiv:2007.02615 [Mon.Not.Roy.Astron.Soc. 498 (2020) 1, 181-193]. Finally, I will present some preliminary results obtained also in collaboration with Dr. Marco Baldi by applying our method to cases in which N-body simulations are required to evaluate the likelihood.

12th January 2021

Speaker: Andreas Doll

Institution: Department of Physics of Heidelberg University

Title: A theory of type-II minimally modified gravity

Abstract: We propose a modified gravity theory that propagates only two local gravitational degrees of freedom and that does not have an Einstein frame. According to the classification by Aoki et al. (JCAP 01 (2019) 017 [arXiv:1810.01047 [gr-qc]]), this is a type-II minimally modified gravity theory. The theory is characterized by the gravitational constant $G_{\rm N}$ and a function $V(\phi)$ of a non-dynamical auxiliary field $\phi$ that plays the role of dark energy. Once one fixes a homogeneous and isotropic cosmological background, the form of $V(\phi)$ is determined and the theory no longer possesses a free parameter or a free function, besides $G_{\rm N}$. For $V'(\phi) = 0$ the theory reduces to general relativity (GR) with $G_N$ being the Newton's constant and $V=const.$ being the cosmological constant. For $V'(\phi) \ne 0$, it is shown that gravity behaves differently from GR but that GR with $G_{\rm N}$ being the Newton's constant is recovered for weak gravity at distance and time scales sufficiently shorter than the scale associated with $V(\phi)$. Therefore this theory provides the simplest framework of cosmology in which deviations from GR can be tested by observational data.

15th December 2020

Speaker: Diego Blas

Institution: King's College London

Title: New ideas on quenching and detecting BH rotational superradiances

Abstract: In this talk I'll discuss two recent results on BH superradiance: first, I will describe how BH photon superradiance is typically quenched by interactions of the photon cloud with the ambient electrons. Second, I will explain how an axionic cloud may impact the CMB if it decays into low energy photons which quickly heat and ionise the surrounding medium to Mpc scales.

8th December 2020

Speaker: Miguel Quartin

Institution: Instituto de Física e Observatório do Valongo, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

Title: First constraints of the intrinsic CMB dipole

Abstract: The CMB dipole is usually assumed to be completely due to the relative velocity between the solar system and the CMB restframe. We test this hypothesis by measuring independently the Doppler and aberration effects on the CMB using Planck 2018 data on TT and EE. We make improvements upon the measurements by the Planck team and arrive at measurements which are independent from the CMB dipole itself. Combining these new measurements with the dipole one we get the first constraints on the intrinsic CMB dipole. Neglecting a dipolar lensing contribution we can put an upper limit on its amplitude: 3.5 mK (95% CI). We also obtain the estimate of the peculiar velocity of the solar system which does not assume a negligible intrinsic dipole contribution. We also discuss how this approach compares with tests of the dipole in radio galaxies and with local peculiar velocity surveys.

1st December 2020

Speaker: Valerio Marra

Institution: Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (UFES)

Title: The Hubble-constant crisis

Abstract: The determination of the Hubble constant $H_0$ - the present-day expansion rate of the universe - is one of the key goals of cosmology, for it impacts all measurements of cosmological properties. Determinations of $H_0$ from Cosmic Microwave Background observations disagree with local determinations from calibrated supernovas Ia: this tension is now approaching the 5 sigma level. After reviewing the present status of cosmology, I will present recent work on model-independent determinations of H0 and their implications for cosmologies beyond $\Lambda$CDM.

27th November 2020 (11:00 am) [NOTE UNUSAL DAY AND TIME]

Speaker: Antonio De Felice

Institution: Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics (YITP), Kyoto University

Title: Weakening gravity for dark matter in a type-II minimally modified gravity

Abstract: I propose a new cosmological framework in which the strength of the gravitational force acted on dark matter at late time can be weaker than that on the standard matter fields without introducing extra gravitational degrees of freedom. The framework integrates dark matter into a type-II minimally modified gravity that was recently proposed as a dark energy mimicker. The idea that makes such a framework possible consists of coupling a dark matter Lagrangian and a cosmological constant to the metric in a canonically transformed frame of general relativity (GR). On imposing a gauge fixing constraint, which explicitly breaks the temporal diffeomorphism invariance, we keep the number of gravitational degrees of freedom to be two, as in GR. We then make the inverse canonical transformation to bring the theory back to the original frame, where one can add the standard matter fields. This framework contains two free functions of time which specify the generating functional of the above mentioned canonical transformation and which are then used in order to realize desired time evolutions of both the Hubble expansion rate $H(z)$ and the effective gravitational constant for dark matter $G_{\rm eff}(z)$. The aim of this paper is therefore to provide a new framework to address the two puzzles present in today's cosmology, i.e. the $H_0$ tension and the $S_8$ tension, simultaneously. When the dark matter is cold in this framework, we dub the corresponding cosmological model the V Canonical Cold Dark Matter (VCCDM), as the cosmological constant Λ in the standard ΛCDM is replaced by a function V(ϕ) of an auxiliary field ϕ and the CDM is minimally coupled to the metric in a canonically transformed frame.

17th November 2020

Speaker: Javier de Cruz Pérez

Institution: Institute of Cosmos Sciences (ICC), Universitat de Barcelona

Title: BD-$\Lambda$CDM and Running Vacuum Models: Theoretical background and current observational status

Abstract: We study Brans-Dicke gravity with a Cosmological Constant and cold dark matter (BD-$\Lambda$CDM hereafter). This theory is the first historical attempt to extend Einstein's General Relativity by promoting the Newtonian coupling constant into a dynamical entity. We present the background and the perturbation equations, which allow us to test the theoretical predictions with a complete and updated data string, formed by: CMB+BAO+LSS+$H(z)$+SNIa. Additionally, we contemplate the possibility of including alternative data in order to cover a wide variety of different scenarios. The BD-$\Lambda$CDM turns out to be observationally favored as compared to the concordance model (GR-$\Lambda$CDM). We pay special attention to the ability of the BD-$\Lambda$CDM model to smooth out not only the $H_0$-tension but also the $\sigma_8$ one. An exhaustive study can be found in arXiv:2006.04273. Due to the possible connection with the Running Vacuum Models (RVM) (see arXiv:1703.08218 and references therein), where a time-evolving vacuum energy density in the context of QFT is considered, we deem it is worthwhile to also present the background and the perturbation equations, as well as, the performance, of this kind of models, when they are put in the light of the observational data.

10th November 2020

Speaker: Emmanuel Saridakis

Institution: National Observatory of Athens

Title: Cosmology and gravity in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy

Abstract: We present the recent possibility of using multi-messenger astronomy, namely data from gravitational waves observations alongside their electromagnetic counterparts, in order to constrain various theoretical models and scenarios and test general relativity. Additionally, we analyze the possibility of using multi-messenger data as a smoking gun for modified gravitational theories.

3rd November 2020

Speaker: Marcos Pellejero-Ibañez

Institution: Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC)

Title: How to estimate cosmological constraints using the least amount of theoretical evaluations through Gaussian processes

Abstract: From a very naive point of view, we could describe our work as theoretical cosmologists in two main stages: first, the development of models encoding the main physical processes (such as structure formation) and that depend on the physical quantities of interest (such as the amount of Dark Energy), and second, the comparison of these models with actual observations. This last stage can be approached in several ways depending on how the model development went. With simple models, it is usually the case that the evaluation of the underlying theory is computationally cheap and the parameter estimation is done through simple Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) techniques. However, with the increasing amount of data provided by the cosmological surveys, the need for accurate modeling has lead to the creation of computationally heavy models. Typical MCMC's require hundreds of thousands of model evaluations, which becomes an issue when using heavy computations. In this talk, I'll try to explain how we tackled this problem in the case of the power spectrum in redshift space by using Gaussian processes directly in parameter space. Although we used this power spectrum example in, the method can be easily generalized to different observables.

27th October 2020

Speaker: Seshadri Nadathur

Institution: Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth

Title: Beyond BAO: cosmology with voids in BOSS and eBOSS

Abstract: Large galaxy surveys allow the measurement of baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO) and the full shape of the galaxy power spectrum, which have been key to constraining models of cosmology, especially dark energy. But can we extract yet more information from the data? I will describe a new type of analysis, based on the anisotropic distribution of galaxies around low-density cosmic void regions, which allows simultaneous constraints on the geometry and growth rate of structure in the Universe. I will present results of this measurement applied to the BOSS galaxy data as well as to the latest eBOSS DR16 release. For these surveys the use of voids far outperforms BAO in measurement of the Alcock-Paczynski parameter, and adds information equivalent to quadrupling the survey data volume compared to using galaxy clustering alone. I will then discuss the cosmological implications, including the tightest constraints on curvature and the dark energy equation of state.

This talk will be based on arXiv:1904.01030, arXiv:2001.11044, arXiv:2008.06060 and the eBOSS DR16 results, arXiv:2007.08991.

20th October 2020

Speaker: Hermano Velten

Institution: Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto (UFOP)

Title: Emergence of dissipative effects through cosmological radiation-matter transition

Abstract: We study the evolution of an expanding universe consisting of two perfect fluids which are allowed to interact and establish thermal equilibrium within a certain time scale $\tau$. While both components evolve adiabatically according to their internal perfect fluid structure within the time interval $\tau$, as expected in the standard cosmology, one realizes that the global system experiences the emergence of an effective bulk viscous pressure at background level. We quantify the magnitude of such effect for the early universe around the matter-radiation equality epoch (i.e., $z_{eq}$). As a consequence of this mechanism and depending on the $\tau$-value there are two main consequences, namely: i) since a small negative bulk viscous pressure is added to the effective total pressure this leads to a new contribution to the expansion rate around $z_{eq}$ yielding to a larger $H_0$ value and ii) large scale structure formation is impacted by suppressing the amplitude of matter overdensities growth via a new viscous friction term contribution to the Mészáros effect. Also, similar imprints on the gravitational potential of super-horizon scales arise. Both results have a direct impact on current tensions of the standard cosmological model.

13th October 2020

Speaker: Rubén Arjona Fernández

Institution: Instituto de Física Teórica UAM-CSIC, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Title: Exploring the nature of dark energy with Machine Learning

Abstract: One of the most pressing mysteries in physics is the accelerating expansion of the Universe, usually attributed to a dark energy component. The standard model of cosmology, which contains only six free parameters describing the matter and dark energy content of the Universe is so far the best phenomenological fit to the data to percent level precision. Observations of future experiments will provide a vast amount of data for a broad span of redshifts with hundreds of thousands of supernovas type Ia along with millions of galaxies and quasars. Machine Learning (ML) techniques will play a big role in testing accurately the standard model of cosmology, but will also help in the search for new physics and tensions in the data by placing tighter constraints on cosmological parameters. I will present a unified ML analysis of all the currently available cosmological data in order to reconstruct several key background and perturbations variables in a model-independent manner in order to explore the nature of dark energy.

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