Online Dissertation Defense: Jingping Li, Yale University, “The Wordline Effective Field Theory of Spinning Gravitational Sources”

Event time: 
Thursday, April 8, 2021 - 3:30pm to 4:30pm
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Event description: 

The advent of gravitational wave physics has raised great interest in efficient calculations of gravitational dynamics. In particular, the worldline effective field theory (EFT) has proven to be powerful for describing the dynamics of compact binary inspirals. In this thesis, we report on progress in this method on including rotating gravitational sources. It has been shown that a connection exists between the radiative amplitudes from spinless classical sources in Yang-Mills theory and dilaton-gravity theory, inspired by the double copy construction in the scattering amplitude community. We generalize this result to spinning sources and find that an additional axion channel is necessary for the connection to be established. The spectrum coincides with that of the low energy limit of string gravity, and we deduce that the worldline EFTs correspond to the low energy limit of classical string theories. Furthermore, we show that tidal effects also admit a double copy structure. On the other hand, there has been new progress on incorporating dissipative effects into the worldline EFT. We generalize this construction to describe rotating objects and apply it to describe the absorptive effects of Kerr black holes by matching with graviton absorption probabilities calculated by Teukolsky equations. Using the resulting EFT, we reproduce the correct mass and spin absorption rates under general backgrounds. We demonstrate the utility of this EFT by computing the power and angular momentum dissipation in non-relativistic binaries.
Thesis Advisor: Walter Goldberger (
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