John D. Barrow, Chandrima Ganguly
What happens to the most general closed oscillating universes in general relativity? We sketch the development of interest in cyclic universes from the early work of Friedmann and Tolman to modern variations introduced by the presence of a cosmological constant. Then we show what happens in the cyclic evolution of the most general closed anisotropic universes provided by the Mixmaster universe. We show that in the presence of entropy increase its cycles grow in size and age, increasingly approaching flatness. But these cycles also grow increasingly anisotropic at their expansion maxima. If there is a positive cosmological constant, or dark energy, present then these oscillations always end and the last cycle evolves from an anisotropic inflexion point towards a de Sitter future of everlasting expansion.
Read more at https://arxiv.org/pdf/1705.06647.pdf
The answer to the question in the title is: in search of new physics beyond the Standard Model, for which there are many motivations, including the likely instability of the electroweak vacuum, dark matter, the origin of matter, the masses of neutrinos, the naturalness of the hierarchy of mass scales, cosmological inflation and the search for quantum gravity. So far, however, there are no clear indications about the theoretical solutions to these problems, nor the experimental strategies to resolve them. It makes sense now to prepare various projects for possible future accelerators, so as to be ready for decisions when the physics outlook becomes clearer. Paraphrasing George Harrison, “If you don’t yet know where you’re going, any road may take you there.”
Read more at https://arxiv.org/pdf/1704.02821.pdf
Jaco de Swart, Gianfranco Bertone, Jeroen van Dongen
The history of the dark matter problem can be traced back to at least the 1930s, but it was not until the early 1970s that the issue of ‘missing matter’ was widely recognized as problematic. In the latter period, previously separate issues involving missing mass were brought together in a single anomaly. We argue that reference to a straightforward ‘accumulation of evidence’ alone is inadequate to comprehend this episode. Rather, the rise of cosmological research, the accompanying renewed interest in the theory of relativity and changes in the manpower division of astronomy in the 1960s are key to understanding how dark matter came to matter. At the same time, this story may also enlighten us on the methodological dimensions of past practices of physics and cosmology.
Read more at https://arxiv.org/pdf/1703.00013.pdf
Evidence for Planck-scale structure at black hole horizons
Jahed Abedi, Hannah Dykaar, Niayesh Afshordi
In classical General Relativity (GR), an observer falling into an astrophysical black hole is not expected to experience anything dramatic as she crosses the event horizon. However, tentative resolutions to problems in quantum gravity, such as the cosmological constant problem, or the black hole information paradox, invoke significant departures from classicality in the vicinity of the horizon. It was recently pointed out that such near-horizon structures can lead to late-time echoes in the black hole merger gravitational wave signals that are otherwise indistinguishable from GR. We search for observational signatures of these echoes in the gravitational wave data released by advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), following the three black hole merger events GW150914, GW151226, and LVT151012. In particular, we look for repeating damped echoes with time-delays of 8MlogM (+spin corrections, in Planck units), corresponding to Planck-scale departures from GR near their respective horizons. Accounting for the “look elsewhere” effect due to uncertainty in the echo template, we find tentative evidence for Planck-scale structure near black hole horizons at 2.9σ significance level (corresponding to false detection probability of 1 in 270). Future data releases from LIGO collaboration, along with more physical echo templates, will definitively confirm (or rule out) this finding, providing possible empirical evidence for alternatives to classical black holes, such as in firewall or fuzzball paradigms.
Read more at https://arxiv.org/pdf/1612.00266v1.pdf