July 9, 2020 to December 31, 2022
Europe/Zurich timezone

Dear Colleagues,

(*Please take note of the unusual starting hour*)
To promote scientific discussions during this pandemic, we are organizing an online seminar series, i.e. Copernicus Webinar Series, seeking the most outstanding speakers to introduce innovative ideas and important progress in the field of gravity and cosmology. This series is named after the famous Polish Astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus, whose discovery eventually marked the dawn of modern science.
We would like to invite you to take part in the upcoming 94th Copernicus Webinar.
Time:                 24th May, Tuesday, 5:00 pm CEST (11 pm Beijing time, 24 pm JST, 11 am EDT, 9am MT)
Speaker:            Emil Mottola (University of New Mexico)
The Effective Theory of Gravity and Dynamical Vacuum Energy
Gravity and general relativity are considered as an Effective Field Theory (EFT) at low energies and macroscopic distance scales. The effective action of the conformal trace anomaly of light or massless quantum fields has significant effects on macroscopic scales, owing to its describing light cone singularities not captured by an expansion in local curvature invariants. A compact local form for the Wess-Zumino effective action of the conformal anomaly and stress tensor is given, involving the introduction of a new light scalar, which it is argued should be included in the low energy effective action for gravity. This scalar conformalon couples to the conformal part of the spacetime metric and allows the effective value of the vacuum energy, described as a condensate of a 4-form abelian gauge field, to change in space and time. The EFT of vacuum energy thereby replaces the fixed constant Lambda of the classical theory with a dynamical condensate whose natural ground state value in empty flat space is Lambda_eff = 0 identically. In addition to the conformal anomaly, the principal physical inputs to the EFT are a topological vacuum susceptibility characterizing the coupling of the 4-form condensate to the anomaly current, in analogy to the chiral susceptibility of QCD, and the extension of the fermion anomaly to a general Einstein-Cartan space including torsion. By allowing Lambda_eff to vary rapidly near a black hole horizon, the EFT of dynamical vacuum energy provides an effective Lagrangian framework for gravitational condenstate stars, as the final state of complete gravitational collapse consistent with quantum theory. Possible consequences of dynamical vacuum dark energy in cosmology, the cosmic coincidence problem, and the role of conformal invariance for other fine tuning issues in the Standard Model will be discussed if time allows.
Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 421 480 1692
Passcode: cosmology

This series is co-organised by the cosmology groups in the following institutions (in alphabetical order): 

Harvard University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Science, Jagiellonian University, Kyoto University, Leiden University, Ludwig Maximilians University, McGill University, Perimeter Institute, Polish Society on Relativity, The Pennsylvania State University, The University of Tokyo, Tsinghua University, University of Geneva, University of Groningen, University of Science and Technology of China, University of Waterloo.

Science Organising Committee members (in alphabetical order):

Niayesh Afshordi, Robert Brandenberger, Yifu Cai, Xingang Chen, Ema Dimastrogiovanni, Ruth Durrer, Ghazal Geshnizjani, Chunshan Lin, Jerome Martin, Jakub Mielczarek, Viatcheslav Mukhanov, Shinji Mukohyama, Subodh Patil, Misao Sasaki, Sarah Shandera, Wei Song, Alexander Vikman, Yi Wang, Zhong-Zhi Xianyu