Center for Theoretical and Observational Cosmology
The Center for Theoretical and Observational Cosmology (CTOC) works to understand the fundamental constituents and dynamical laws at work in the universe. Specific questions include the nature of black holes, dark matter, and dark energy, as well as the role and potential form of quantum effects in these phenomena. Since these and related questions have remained open for some time, answering them may require new fundamental theories that supersede the current framework of general relativity, quantum mechanics, and quantum field theory as we know them today. The Center for Fundamental Theory is unique in the variety of perspectives it brings together. One primary focus of the CFT is the formulation of concrete descriptions of quantum gravity. Another is the mathematical and structural forms of predictions made by quantum field theory, and the tools used to make such predictions in general. Related to these is an understanding of quantum systems and quantum information in non-trivial spacetimes. These studies often involve novel computational and mathematical challenges. Due to the universality of mathematical formulations, solutions can sometimes prove useful in other areas of physics and science. Guiding and testing new fundamental theories requires data—both observational and theoretical. Members of the Center interact with colleagues in the CTOC and CMA to understand how observational data should inform the pursuit of many fundamental questions.