From 27 June to 1 July the University of Tartu Institute of Physics (UTIP) is hosting an international conference “Metric-Affine Frameworks for Gravity 2022”, where gravity theorists, cosmologists, particle physicists and mathematicians gather to discuss what kind of solutions to the contemporary problems in fundamental physics could be found by exploring the less studied possibilities in the geometric description of the spacetime structure.
According to one of the conference organizers, UTIP research fellow in theoretical physics Dr. Jorge G. Valcárcel the metric-affine framework offers a modern approach to gravity which attempts to unify the effects of the main fundamental properties of matter, such as the energy, momentum, and spin, into a single geometrical description. Although the mathematical undepinnings of this class of theories date back to the works of Élie Cartan, Hermann Weyl, and Albert Einstein a century ago, a systematic analysis and application of these models in cosmological and astrophysical settings has only become feasible relatively recently with a heavy use of computer algebra to aid the calculations.
Among the different variants in this family of theories, in the last years many research efforts in Tartu have focused and contributed to the development of teleparallel gravity. Also at the conference almost half of the presentations touch the various aspects of these particular kinds of models. As the conference organizer UTIP research fellow in theoretical physics Dr. María José Guzmán explains, teleparallel gravity is interesting because it provides a new landscape for exploring theories that supersede general relativity, for it uses the concept of torsion instead of curvature to describe spacetime. Thereby uncharted avenues open up to understand the observed features of the Universe, along with possible mathematical pitfalls that might render the theory unviable.
The MaffGrav conference belongs to a series of international gravity meetings held in Tartu, the current event this year is already the sixth in a row, tells UTIP associate professor in theoretical physics, head of the Laboratory of Theoretical Physics Dr. Laur Järv. While the last two conferences had to be conducted basically online, this year the conference takes place in a truly hybrid form. Despite the lingering Covid-19 pandemic and potentially threatening security situation, among the almost 120 conference participants roughly half will attend the meeting in-person.
General public who finds the fundamental issues of the cosmos interesting, can satisfy the curiosity at the conference public lecture held in the Tartu Old Observatory on Tuesday, 28 June at 18:15. Prof. Davi Rodrigues will speak on the topic Why galaxies rotate? aiming to explain what are the reasons to postulate the existence of dark matter and whether there are any viable alternatives.
See more information on the conference homepage.