The Big Bang and the little bangs - Non-equilibrium phenomena in cosmology and in heavy-ion collisions

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This CERN TH Institute aims at bringing together cosmologists and heavy-ion physicists that both work towards a better understanding of non-equilibrium phenomena in terms of local field theories. On the one hand, such non-equilibrium systems can be studied in the context of heavy ion collisions that are thought to evolve from a highly excited initial state through a kinetic regime into a hydrodynamic regime characterized by event-by-event fluctuations prior to hadronization. This evolution of heavy ion collisions will be tested with increasing precision in the nuclear beam programmes at RHIC and LHC. On the other hand, the advent of precision cosmology has firmly supported the Big Bang paradigm, including in particular an inflationary phase in the Early Universe that provides seeds for the cosmological fluctuations. This is followed by a far-from-equilibrium phase (reheating), and possibly by some dynamics responsible for the baryon asymmetry and dark matter production. The subsequent dynamical evolution of the cosmic perturbations through the linear regime is observable today in the Cosmic Microwave Background. At even later times the perturbations start to behave non-linearly, which can be observed in current and future large-scale structure surveys such as LSST and EUCLID, as well as through the small-scale structure of dark matter halos.

There are several concrete examples where we think an exchange will be particularly useful, including far-from equilibrium dynamics relevant in the early stages of heavy ion collisions as well as for cosmic reheating or cold electroweak baryogenesis,the production of weakly coupled particles from a hot plasma, such as photon or dilepton production from a QCD plasma or production of e.g. Majorana neutrinos or gravitons from the SM plasma at very high temperatures, and the emergence of a dissipative hydrodynamical description, as well as the statistical properties of long-range fluctuations, which is relevant both in the context of heavy ion collisions as well as for large-scale structure formation on the scales of baryon acoustic oscillations.

Questions that will be addressed in the TH institute include:

  • What are observable remnants from an early far-from-equilibrium phase, in the context of heavy ion collisions and in the Early Universe?
  • How does the Standard Model behave in extreme non-equilibrium conditions, and how can we describe the various stages towards thermalization?
  • How do material properties arise from an (effective) kinetic picture? What are the limitations in the applicability of viscous fluid dynamics in heavy ion collisions and cosmology? Can we describe the dynamics of non-linear structure formation on large distances within an effective fluid dynamical framework?        
  • What can we learn from long wavelength dynamics about material properties of dark matter and dark energy? What if dark matter is a Bose-Einstein condensate, or has self-interactions?

Participants include:

Jürgen Berges, Jean-Paul Blaizot, Dietrich Bodeker, Ruth Durrer, Dani Figueroa, Stefan Flörchinger, Björn Garbrecht, Jacopo Ghighlieri, Mical Heller, Ulrich Heinz, Sangyong Jeon, Mikko Laine, Jinfeng Liao, David Marsh, Alberto Nicolis, Enrico Pajer, Massimo Pietroni, Arttu Rajantie, Antonio Riotto, Paul Romatschke, Sören Schlichting, Misha Shaposhnikov, Misha Stepanov, Nikolaos Tetradis, David Weir, Hai-Bo Yu, Jesus Zavala

The Institute is funded jointly by CERN and by Korean Government under the CERN-Korea Collaboration agreement.

Registration: There is no registration fee.  Applications to attend will be open until June 30, 2016. We can provide financial support for a limited number of participants.

Organizers: D. Blas, K. Enqvist, M. Garny, Deog-Ki Hong, A. Kurkela, G. Moore, S. Tulin, U. Wiedemann, Ho-Ung Yee

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