Vainu Bappu Award Cermony

Date: 15th July 2014

Venue: Auditorium, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore

Time: 2:00 PM

Speaker: Dr. Marta Burgay

Title: The double pulsar: an unique laboratory to test relativistic gravity
Speaker: Dr. Parampreet Singh

Title: Quantum Journeys Beyond the Big Bang
Abstract: PSR J0737-3039A/B, aka the Double Pulsar, is the first and so far only binary system containing two neutron starts (NSs) both emitting regular radio pulses. It is also the most relativistic binary pulsar discovered so far. These facts make the Double Pulsar the best laboratory to test relativistic gravity in the strong field regime and allowed us to test General Reltivity with unprecedented precision. Moreover, since the system is seen almost edge-on, it is possible to use the pulses from one NS to probe the magnetosphere of the other. In this talk I will review the present knowldge about this unique system and report on the latest observational results. Abstract: In recent years, significant advances in observational cosmology have shown that Einstein's theory of General Relativity is immensely successful in describing a very large part of the history of our universe. However, fundamental questions related to the birth of our universe and the associated physics remain unanswered. It is generally assumed that our universe began with a big bang. However, big bang is a singularity where the gravitational field becomes infinite and Einstein's theory based on a classical spacetime fails to hold.

To answer these fundamental questions, it become necessary to go beyond the classical description of spacetime and understand the quantum nature of spacetime. In this talk, we explore these issues in a quantum theory of gravity. In particular, using techniques of loop quantum gravity we show that the classical singularities are replaced by a quantum gravitational bounce, and the spacetime continues beyond the big bang. We discuss the nature of the universe on the other side of the big bang for simple cosmological models, genericity of bounce and some aspects of the resulting physics.

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