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Science and Mathematics

Physics Colloquium: Gravity in the Age of Precision Cosmology

March 24, 2022 at 3:45pm4:45pm EDT

Physics Building, 202

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The Department of Physics is pleased to welcome Professor Mark Trodden for an in-person colloquium presentation. Professor Trodden is the Fay R. and Eugene L. Langberg Professor of Physics and Physics Department Chair at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also Co-Director of the Penn Center for Particle Cosmology.


General Relativity (GR) has proven to be one of our best-tested and most successful physical theories. In this colloquium I will discuss the role of GR in cosmology, where it has served as a crucial underpinning for the standard cosmological model. I will provide an brief description of GR, and will then describe the dual ways in which GR, and gravitational theories in general, interact with our observations of the universe. I will discuss the great successes of GR in cosmology, focusing on the central pillars of the big bang theory, and the use of gravitational lensing to reveal the puzzles of dark matter and cosmic acceleration. I will then turn to the challenges that cosmological data raise for GR as a theory of gravitation. Cosmic acceleration itself suggests that GR might not be the end of the story for gravity,  with exciting theoretical implications. However, the new field of gravitational wave astronomy is already – severely constraining the ways in this might happen. Finally, by thinking about the universe in the far past, I will describe how we might test the most fundamental question about gravity, its quantum nature, by tracing the consequences of the early quantum universe through to today.

This is an in-person colloquium. If you are interested in attending virtually, please contact for the Zoom link.

This event was published on February 23, 2022.

Event Details