84: Sean Carroll: Is the Universe Twisted? Limits on Lorentz Violation & other Screwy Ideas!


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In 1990, Sean Carroll's, George Field and Roman Jackiw wrote an epochal paper that had a tremendous impact on physics, and in particular, on me and my career as a young graduate student in the 1990's.

Recently, evidence for the parity violating effect from Cosmic Microwave Background observations by Planck was announced in Physical Review Letters: https://journals.aps.org/prl/accepted/b0070Yf9I0214c6835b00d89342658c8255c84496

Sean will discuss the background physics behind this effect and the implications for physics if the PRL is confirmed by upcoming polarimeters or otherwise convincing evidence is found. I will discuss some of the experimental challenges to making such a measurement and prospects for upcoming experiments such as CLASS, BICEP Array, SPT3G, Simons Array, ACT, LiteBIRD, Simons Observatory, and CMB Stage 4 to make a definitive, high confidence level claim. While you're waiting for the livestream to start here is some homework 😂

  • 1) Subscribe to Sean's Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRhV1rWIpm_pU19bBm_2RXw?sub_confirmation=1
  • 2) Enjoy this video from the SETI institute on cosmic birefringence, including a 1997 claim that Sean refuted, that I presented 4 years ago https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QywRTlcocBE
  • 3) Read the original paper by Carroll, Field, and Jackiw: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/13277928_Limits_on_a_Lorentz-_and_parity-violating_modification_of_electrodynamics
  • 4) And, read the abstract of the current paper, accepted for publication in PRL: https://journals.aps.org/prl/accepted/b0070Yf9I0214c6835b00d89342658c8255c84496
  • 5) Watch my review of Sean's book, The Big Picture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg4t_snAPwY?sub_confirmation=1
  • 6) Watch my interview with Sean about his latest book, Something Deeply Hidden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKEXbSe0hV0?sub_confirmation=1

Sean Michael Carroll (born October 5, 1966) is a theoretical physicist specializing in quantum mechanics, gravity, and cosmology. He is a research professor in the Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics in the California Institute of Technology Department of Physics.[1] He has been a contributor to the physics blog Cosmic Variance, and has published in scientific journals such as Nature as well as other publications, including The New York Times, Sky & Telescope, and New Scientist.

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