©2018 Stephon Alexander Theory Lab

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The Alexander group explores the interconnection between the smallest and largest entities in the cosmos by using experimental data in cosmology and particle physics to test, constrain and improve on theories of quantum gravity and beyond the standard model of cosmology and particle physics.  Some questions we investigate are:

  • What happened at and before the big bang singularity?

  • What is the identity and nature of dark matter and dark energy?

  • Why does vacuum energy not gravitate (the cosmological constant problem)?

  • What is the origin of matter over anti-matter in the universe?

  • Can we use gravitational wave physics to probe fundamental physics?

  • What is the origin of large scale structure in the universe?

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

STEPHON ALEXANDER

stephon_alexander [at] brown.edu

Stephon Alexander is a Professor of Physics at Brown University with previous appointments at Stanford University, Imperial College, Penn State, Dartmouth College and Haverford College. He is a specialist in the field of string cosmology, where the physics of superstrings are applied to address longstanding questions in cosmology. In 2001, he co-invented the model of inflation based on higher dimensional hypersurfaces in string theory called D-Branes. In such models the early universe emerged from the destruction of a higher dimensional D-brane which ignites a period of rapid expansion of space often referred to as cosmic inflation.

POST DOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOWS

EVAN MCDONOUGH

evan_mcdonough [at] brown.edu 

Evan McDonough is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Brown University, and a Post-Doctoral Fellow of the National Science and Engineering Council of Canada. He works at the interface of high energy theoretical physics and observational cosmology, on topics ranging from 10-dimensional string theory to dark matter. He is particularly interested in gravitational waves as a connection between and probe into these seemingly unrelated research areas.

GRADUATE STUDENTS

ROB SIMS

robert_sims [at] brown.edu 

Rob Sims is a PhD student at Brown University working on cosmology. In particular, he focuses on new observational windows into the dark sector and gravitational waves.

XIAO ZHOU

xiao_zhou [at] brown.edu 

Xiao Zhou is a second year master student at Brown University. She is interested in dark matter and is working on a project that proposes that dark matter has a super-fluid phase. She is working to find a disk-like solution of Newton/Schrodinger equation in cylindrical coordinate in order to study the physics of dark matter in this scalar model.

ATHIRA SANAL

athira_sanal [at] brown.edu

Athira Sanal is a second year masters student at Brown University. She is interested in dark matter and is currently working on a project about superfluid dark matter. She is working to study the possible phase transitions of this superfluid dark matter. Her current research interests lie at the interfaces of cosmology, particle physics, and condensed matter physics. 

BRADLEY SHAPIRO

bradley_shapiro1 [at] brown.edu

Bradley Shapiro is a second year masters student at Brown. He is primarily interested in cosmology, and he is especially interested in the application of cosmology as a test for new physics. In the past, he researched optical quasar variability, and he is currently working on a project on circular polarization in the CMB.

LEAH JENKS

leah_jenks [at] brown.edu 

Leah Jenks is a first year PhD student at Brown. She has previously worked on a wide variety of topics, including high redshift galaxy evolution, dark matter production, and higher dimensional black hole mechanics. Her current research interests lie at the interfaces of cosmology, general relativity and high energy physics.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

JACOB STANTON

jacob_stanton [at] brown.edu 

Jacob Stanton is an undergraduate student at Brown studying Mathematical Physics and Africana Studies.  His current work focuses on using computational models of Pulsar pulse profiles to constrain perturbations to Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. Prior to this, he worked on computational models of Circular Polarization within the CMB.

LAB ALUMNI

KAIRY HERRERA

KATIE VASQUEZ