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Astrophysical probes of fundamental physics


Research objectives and content
The primary objective of this project is the study of the implications for particle physics of experimental data on GRBs (gamma-ray bursts). In particular, in light of their high typical energies, small-scale time structure and cosmological origin (which has been very recently established experimentally), GRBs might allow to test the possibility of 'wave dispersion in the quantum-gravity vacuuum' which has recently emerged in two quantum-gravity approaches: the 'Liouville String' approach of Ellis et al, and the approach based on dimensionful deformations of Poincare' symmetries proposed by Lukierski et al. Bounds on the magnitude of this quantum-gravity effect will be derived using GRB data presently available. In addition, the most popular GRB models will be examined with the objective of establishing how the predictions of these models would be affected by the above mentioned wave dispersion, also hoping to provide useful information to the experimentalists who might attempt to exploit the sensitivity of GRBs to this type of quantum-gravity physics. Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
My studies of the interface between particle physics and
astrophysics/cosmology (which started as part of the work for my Ph.D. thesis) have been mostly focused on rather formal/mathematical aspects, e.g. I contributed to the development of a formalism for the analysis of the effective potential relevant for the investigation of certain early-universe phase transitions. Stimulated by the findings of some of my most recent studies, most notably a work in collaboration with Ellis, Mavromatos, Nanopoulos and Sarkar, I am determined to shift the emphasis of my work toward more phenomenological aspects of 'astroparticle physics.'
The opportunity to intensify my level of collaboration with John Ellis would allow me to have expert guidance in this delicate transition. Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)



1211 Geneve