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May 8 – 12, 2023
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
America/Toronto timezone

Where effective field theory fails: Windows into quantum gravity?

May 9, 2023, 9:45 AM
PI/4-405 - Bob Room (Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics)

PI/4-405 - Bob Room

Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics



Adam Koberinski (University of Pittsburgh)


Effective field theory is a computationally powerful and flexible theoretical framework, finding application in many areas of physics. In particle physics, Weinberg’s folk theorem also promises that any theory that reproduces the predictions of the Standard Model will, at low energies, look like an effective field theory. In one sense the power of this framework should be a cause for pride in the progress of physics and discovery of real structural features of the world. But given the inability to fully unite quantum theory and gravity into a consistent theoretical picture, there is also cause for pessimism: indirect tests of candidate theories of quantum gravity will ultimately reduce to something like an effective field theory, undermining efforts to find low-energy windows into new physics. One way around this pessimism is to look at where and why effective field theory breaks down in current physical theories. I will point to familiar breakdowns (the cosmological constant, inflation, the hierarchy problem), offering a take on what these breakdowns tell us about the shape of physics beyond the Standard Model. Cracks in the wall of effective field theory allow for a dim glimpse of what might lie beyond.

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