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MSRI/Evans Lecture: Could the Universe have an Exotic Topology? December 02, 2013 (04:10 PM PST - 05:00 PM PST)
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Location: UC Berkeley, 60 Evans Hall
Speaker(s) Vincent Moncrief (Yale University)
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Astronomical observations have long been interpreted to support a so-called 'cosmological principle' according to which the universe, viewed on a sufficiently large, coarse-grained scale, is spatially homogeneous and isotropic. Up to an overall, time-dependent scale factor, only three Riemannian manifolds are compatible with this principle, namely the constant curvature spaces S3, E3 and H3 or spherical, flat and hyperbolic space-forms respectively and these provide the bases for the standard Friedmann, Robertson-Walker, Lemaîtra (FRWL) cosmological models. But astronomers only observe a fraction of the universe and the possibility remains open that its actual topology could be more 'exotic' and perhaps only locally compatible with isotropy and homogeniety. In this talk I shall discuss some mathematical evidence suggesting that the Einstein field equations, formulated on much more general manifolds than the FRWL ones listed above, contain a dynamical mechanism according to which the universe will, in the direction of cosmological expansion, be volume dominated by regions that are asymptotically homogeneous and isotropic.

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