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| Pages: 81-88
The visible mass of the observable universe agrees with that needed for a flat cosmos, and the reason for this is not known. It is shown that this can be explained by modelling the Hubble volume as a black hole that emits Hawking radiation inwards, disallowing wavelengths that do not fit exactly into the Hubble diameter, since partial waves would allow an inference of what lies outside the horizon. This model of “horizon wave censorship” is equivalent to a Hubble-scale Casimir effect. This incomplete toy model is presented to stimulate discussion. It predicts a minimum mass and acceleration for the observable universe which are in agreement with the observed mass and acceleration, and predicts that the observable universe gains mass as it expands and was hotter in the past. It also predicts a suppression of variation on the largest cosmic scales that agrees with the low-l cosmic microwave background anomaly seen by the Planck satellite.

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| Pages: 89-159
In this review we summarize, expand, and set in context recent developments on the thermodynamics of black holes in extended phase space, where the cosmological constant is interpreted as thermodynamic pressure and treated as a thermodynamic variable in its own right. We specifically consider the thermodynamics of higher-dimensional rotating asymptotically flat and AdS black holes and black rings in a canonical (fixed angular momentum) ensemble. We plot the associated thermodynamic potential—the Gibbs free energy—and study its behavior to uncover possible thermodynamic phase transitions in these black hole spacetimes. We show that the multiply-rotating Kerr-AdS black holes exhibit a rich set of interesting thermodynamic phenomena analogous to the “every day thermodynamics” of simple substances, such as reentrant phase transitions of multicomponent liquids, multiple first-order solid/liquid/gas phase transitions, and liquid/gas phase transitions of the van derWaals type. Furthermore, the reentrant phase transitions also occur for multiply-spinning asymptotically flat Myers–Perry black holes. These phenomena do not require a variable cosmological constant, though they are more naturally understood in the context of the extended phase space. The thermodynamic volume, a quantity conjugate to the thermodynamic pressure, is studied for AdS black rings and demonstrated to satisfy the reverse isoperimetric inequality; this provides a first example of calculation confirming the validity of isoperimetric inequality conjecture for a black hole with non-spherical horizon topology. The equation of state P = P(V,T) is studied for various black holes both numerically and analytically—in the ultraspinning and slow rotation regimes.

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| Pages: 160-188
We discuss the production of massive relic coherent gravitons in a particular class of ƒ(R) gravity, which arises from string theory, and their possible imprint in the Cosmic Microwave Background. In fact, in the very early Universe, these relic gravitons could have acted as slow gravity waves. They may have then acted to focus the geodesics of radiation and matter. Therefore, their imprint on the later evolution of the Universe could appear as filaments and a domain wall in the Universe today. In that case, the effect on the Cosmic Microwave Background should be analogous to the effect of water waves, which, in focusing light, create optical caustics, which are commonly seen on the bottom of swimming pools. We analyze this important issue by showing how relic massive gravity waves (GWs) perturb the trajectories of the Cosmic Microwave Background photons (gravitational lensing by relic GWs). The consequence of the type of physics discussed is outlined by illustrating an amplification of what might be called optical chaos.

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| Pages: 189-198
The past year has seen an explosion of new and old ideas about black hole physics. Prior to the firewall paper, the dominant picture was the thermofield model apparently implied by anti-de Sitter conformal field theory duality. While some seek a narrow responce to Almheiri, Marolf, Polchinski, and Sully (AMPS) , there are a number of competing models. One problem in the field is the ambiguity of the competing proposals. Some are equivalent while others incompatible. This paper will attempt to define and classify a few models representative of the current discussions.

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| Pages: 199-222
An accurate computational method is presented for determining the mass distribution in a mature spiral galaxy from a given rotation curve by applying Newtonian dynamics for an axisymmetrically rotating thin disk of finite size with or without a central spherical bulge. The governing integral equation for mass distribution is transformed via a boundary-element method into a linear algebra matrix equation that can be solved numerically for rotation curves with a wide range of shapes. To illustrate the effectiveness of this computational method, mass distributions in several mature spiral galaxies are determined from their measured rotation curves. All the surface mass density profiles predicted by our model exhibit approximately a common exponential law of decay, quantitatively consistent with the observed surface brightness distributions. When a central spherical bulge is present, the mass distribution in the galaxy is altered in such a way that the periphery mass density is reduced, while more mass appears toward the galactic center. By extending the computational domain beyond the galactic edge, we can determine the rotation velocity outside the cut-off radius, which appears to continuously decrease and to gradually approach the Keplerian rotation velocity out over twice the cut-off radius. An examination of circular orbit stability suggests that galaxies with flat or rising rotation velocities are more stable than those with declining rotation velocities especially in the region near the galactic edge. Our results demonstrate the fact that Newtonian dynamics can be adequate for describing the observed rotation behavior of mature spiral galaxies.

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| Pages: 223-258
The observation of a scalar resonance at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), compatible with perturbative electroweak symmetry breaking, reinforces the Standard Model (SM) parameterisation of all subatomic data. The logarithmic evolution of the SM gauge and matter parameters suggests that this parameterisation remains viable up to the Planck scale, where gravitational effects are of comparable strength. String theory provides a perturbatively consistent scheme to explore how the parameters of the Standard Model may be determined from a theory of quantum gravity. The free fermionic heterotic string models provide concrete examples of exact string solutions that reproduce the spectrum of the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model. Contemporary studies entail the development of methods to classify large classes of models. This led to the discovery of exophobic heterotic-string vacua and the observation of spinor-vector duality, which provides an insight to the global structure of the space of (2,0) heterotic-string vacua. Future directions entail the study of the role of the massive string states in these models and their incorporation in cosmological scenarios. A complementary direction is the formulation of quantum gravity from the principle of manifest phase space duality and the equivalence postulate of quantum mechanics, which suggest that space is compact. The compactness of space, which implies intrinsic regularisation, may be tightly related to the intrinsic finite length scale, implied by string phenomenology.

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| Pages: 259-262
New analyses of extended data records collected with the Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR) technique performed with improved tidal models were not able to resolve the issue of the anomalous rate e˙ of the eccentricity e of the orbit of the Moon, which is still in place with a magnitude of e˙=(5±2)×10−12yr−1 . Some possible cosmological explanations are offered in terms of the post-Newtonian effects of the cosmological expansion and of the slow temporal variation of the relative acceleration rate S¨S−1 of the cosmic scale factor S. None of them is successful since their predicted secular rates of the lunar eccentricity are too small by several orders of magnitude.

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| Pages: 263-274
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) provides data on several hundred thousand galaxies. The precise location of these galaxies in the sky, along with information about their luminosities and line-of-sight (Doppler) velocities, allows one to construct a three-dimensional map of their location and estimate their line-of-sight velocity dispersion. This information, in principle, allows one to test dynamical gravity models, specifically models of satellite galaxy velocity dispersions near massive hosts. A key difficulty is the separation of true satellites from interlopers. We sidestep this problem by not attempting to derive satellite galaxy velocity dispersions from the data, but instead incorporate an interloper background into the mathematical models and compare the result to the actual data. We find that due to the presence of interlopers, it is not possible to exclude several gravitational theories on the basis of the SDSS data.

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| Pages: 275-291
We explore the possible cosmological consequences of a running Newton’s constant, G(⎕), as suggested by the non-trivial ultraviolet fixed point scenario for Einstein gravity with a cosmological constant term. Here, we examine what possible effects a scale-dependent coupling might have on large-scale cosmological density perturbations. Starting from a set of manifestly covariant effective field equations, we develop the linear theory of density perturbations for a non-relativistic perfect fluid. The result is a modified equation for the matter density contrast, which can be solved and thus provides an estimate for the corrections to the growth index parameter, ɤ.