My research is mainly focussed on investigating modifications to gravity. Using the language of general relativity, I try to understand what modifications to gravity are possible, and how the universe would work given those modifications. Modifications to gravity will typically change how the universe gravitates at either a high energy (think: black holes and ultra-high energy particle collisions) or very low energy (think: cosmological scales). It's fairly easy to modify gravity in the intermediate regime, but if you do so, our solar system wouldn't work, which is a fairly strong constraint on such theories.
Why would you want to modify gravity from Einstein's Theory of General Relativity? There are a few reasons to do so. The first is in pursuit of dark energy, a competely unknown component of the universe defined only by its responsibility for causing the universe to expand at an accelerated rate recently in the cosmological history. To mimic this behavior requires a modification to gravity on very low energy scales. The second is that we have good reason to believe that gravity has to break down at extremely high energies (the Planck scale), and furthermore, there are some problems in particle physics (in particular, the hierarchy problem) that might be resolved by modifying gravity on small scales.
My research involves bringing together a number of different aspects of fundamental physics, including general relativity and cosmology, quantum field theory, and particle physics. You may find my list of publications here.
An Effective Field Theory of Dark Energy
This work investigates an effective field theory approach to describing dark energy. We have now constructed two different approaches to dark energy effective field theories: one looks at the background evolution of the universe, while the other investigates the perturbative behavior. This ties into ongoing work to constrain dark energy behavior, with the aim of ascertaining whether dark energy is dynamical, or if it truly is a cosmological constant.
Cosmic String Gravity
This is a fun project that looks at how cosmic strings interact with gravity. We are approaching two aspects of this phenomenon: the lensing effect of cosmic strings, and the self-gravitation effect on cosmic string evolution.
Investigating Multi-Brane Worlds
Work investigating a five-dimensional model with multiple branes, in which we looked at the gravitational behavior of the system.
Thermodynamics of a Spinor Bose Gas
My undergraduate honors thesis, where we looked at the thermodynamics of a spinor boson gas confined in a one-dimensional trap.
The Chemistry of Intergalactic Gases
An undergraduate research project, where we calculated the energy levels and lifetimes of a variety of strange chemicals in order to motivate searches for their presence in interstellar gases.