Speaker: Nicholas Orlofsky, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Abstract: The LIGO detection of gravitational waves resulting from the merger of black holes was an important validation of general relativity. In addition, the observed black hole merger rate may be consistent with expectations for primordial black holes making up some fraction of the dark matter. We ask how these primordial black holes could arise through inflationary models while not conflicting with current experiments. Among the approaches that work, we investigate the opportunity for corroboration through experimental probes of gravitational waves at pulsar timing arrays. We provide examples of theories that are already ruled out, theories that will soon be probed, and theories that will not be tested in the foreseeable future.
If time permits, I will also discuss separate work on WIMP dark matter carrying Standard Model electroweak charge.