seeing giants shrink in real time? the dark matter

At parallel-working session in my office at NYU, I worked with Lauren Blackburn (TransPerfect) to specify a project on clustering and classification of red-giant asteroseismic spectra. The idea (from Tim Bedding's group at Sydney) is to distinguish the stars that are going up the red-giant branch from the ones coming down. Blackburn asked if we could just see the spectra change with time for the stars coming down. I said “hell no” and then we wondered: Maybe?. That's not the plan, but we certainly should check that!

In the NYU Astro Seminar, Vera Glusevic (IAS) gave a great talk on inferring the physical properties of the dark matter (that is, not just the mass and cross-section, but real interaction parameters in natural models. She has results that combinations of different direct-detection targets, being differently sensitive to spin-dependent interactions, could be very discriminatory. But she did have to assume large cross sections, so her results are technically optimistic. She then blew us away with strong limits on dark-matter models using the CMB (and the dragging of nuclei by dark-matter particles in the early universe). Great, and ruling out some locally popular models!

Late in the day, Bedell and I did a writing workshop on our EPRV paper. We got a tiny bit done, which should be called not “tiny” but really a significant achievement. Writing is hard.

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