Four decades after its prediction, the axion remains the most compelling solution to the strong CP problem and a well motivated dark matter candidate, inspiring several ultrasensitive experiments based on axion-photon mixing. The experimental landscape for axion searches is evolving extremely fast: consolidated detection techniques are now facing next-generation experiments with ambitious sensitivity goals, while novel and ingenious detection concepts promise to open for exploration new ranges of parameter space previously considered unreachable. AXIONRUSH deals with an ambitious program to reshape the parameter space of the QCD axion by developing new model building directions and by revisiting from an ultraviolet perspective axion couplings to photons, nucleons, electrons, including also flavour and CP violating ones. The main goal of AXIONRUSH is to bridge theoretical aspects of axion physics with experiments and to provide a global comparison of general axion models with experimental sensitivities and astrophysical bounds. The development of these new theoretical tools will enlarge the physics scopes of the axion experimental program at DESY, Hamburg, by further addressing specific research goals related to the experiments ALPS-II, IAXO, MADMAX and Belle II. A complementary objective of AXIONRUSH is to investigate scenarios where the Peccei Quinn mechanism is embedded into grand unified theories. The latter provide a predictive framework for narrowing down the axion mass range, with a potential impact on the scanning strategy of the axion dark matter experiments CASPER-Electric and ABRACADABRA. A major intention of this latter objective is the construction of a minimal, unified scenario aiming at a self-contained description of particle physics, from the electroweak scale to the Planck scale, and cosmology, from inflation until today.
Symmetries serve as our main guide in studying physical phenomena. The more symmetric a system is, the more constrained are its degrees of freedom and the better prospects we have to understand and solve it. Significant progress has been achieved in the study of theories with high amounts of symmetry in the last decades. Supersymmetry and conformal invariance are the main reasons why the beautiful idea of holography materialised into the AdS/CFT correspondence and the discovery of hidden symmetries (integrability) in gauge theories was possible. Thanks to supersymmetry, modern mathematical techniques allowed the evaluation of the otherwise unfathomable path integral and the comprehensive study of a long list of physical observables. Finally, the successful revival of the conformal Bootstrap program is based on conformal invariance. These breakthroughs are, unfortunately, applicable only to theories with unrealistic amounts of symmetry. BrokenSymmetries will break this impasse by applying the aforementioned ideas to more realistic theories, where some of the supersymmetry and/or conformal invariance are broken. The key innovation of BrokenSymmetries is to still make use of a broken symmetry. Symmetries are captured by Ward identities which we can still derive in various cases of symmetry breaking. Broken symmetries also imply powerful non-perturbative relations that observables obey. We will combine these with the developments mentioned above, producing novel exact results. Our approach will give a handle on otherwise insoluble problems. The objectives of BrokenSymmetries are to obtain exact results while breaking: 1) conformal invariance spontaneously, keeping supersymmetry intact; 2) supersymmetry explicitly, keeping conformal invariance intact; 3) both supersymmetry and conformal invariance turning on the temperature; 4) (super)symmetry generators in the context of integrability, which get upgraded to quantum groups' generators.
The nascent field of gravitational wave (GW) science will be an interdisciplinary subject, enriching different branches of physics, yet the associated computational challenges are enormous. Faithful theoretical templates are a compulsory ingredient for successful data analysis and reliable physical interpretation of the signals. This is critical, for instance, to study the equation of state of neutron stars, the nature of black holes, and binary formation channels. However, while current templates for compact binary sources may be sufficient for detection and crude parameter estimation, they are too coarse for precision physics with GW data. We then find ourselves in a situation in which, for key processes within empirical reach, theoretical uncertainties may dominate. To move forward, profiting the most from GW observations, more accurate waveforms will be needed. I have played a pioneering role in the development and implementation of a new formalism, known as the ‘effective field theory approach’, which has been instrumental for the construction of the state-of-the-art GW template bank. The goal of my proposal is thus to redefine the frontiers of analytic understanding in gravity through the effective field theory framework. Even more ambitiously, to go beyond the current computational paradigm with powerful tools which have been crucial for `new-physics' searches at the Large Hadron Collider. The impact of the high-accuracy calculations I propose to undertake will be immense: from probes of dynamical spacetime and strongly interacting matter, to the potential to discover exotic compact objects and ultra-light particles in nature. Furthermore, GW observations scan gravity in a regime which is otherwise unexplored. Consequently, the coming decade will tell whether Einstein's theory withstands precision scrutiny. In summary, my program will provide novel techniques and key results that will enable foundational investigations in physics through GW precision data.
It is now firmly established that most of the matter in the Universe is in the form of the mysterious dark matter, contributing more than 80% to the total amount of matter. However, despite tremendous theoretical and experimental efforts over the past few decades, dark matter remains elusive and one of the great unknowns until today. To identify the nature of dark matter is evidently of fundamental importance and one of the top priorities in science today. The quest for dark matter is inherently multi disciplinary with strong roots in particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology, providing profound connections between these different disciplines. This project aims at exploring new avenues towards solving the dark matter puzzle, with a particular focus on a few select groundbreaking topics. These are centered around (i) theoretical dark matter model building, (ii) the study of new collider signatures, (iii) developing new techniques for the comparison and interpretation of direct detection experiments and (iv) identifying astrophysical probes which constrain or give evidence for dark matter self-interactions. Given the impressive increase in sensitivity of upcoming dark matter experiments as well as the upcoming high energy run of the Large Hadron Collider, there is no doubt that the era of data has begun for dark matter searches and that we can expect putative signals rather than exclusion limits for the near future. It is therefore extremely important to bring together different fields and exploit the complementarity of different search strategies to maximise the amount of information gained from a successful detection. This inherently multi disciplinary approach is at the heart of the current project, which can rely on a well established network of collaborators and will bring together excellent young physicists with different backgrounds to form a small but well structured research group which will significantly advance dark matter phenomenology in Europe.