Skip to Content

Part I: Don't Shake That Solenoid Too Hard: Particle Production from Aharonov-Bohm and Part II: The N-Body Problem in General Relativity from Perturbative QFT

Five decades ago, Aharonov and Bohm illustrated the indispensable role of the vector potential in quantum dynamics by showing (theoretically) that scattering electrons around a solenoid, no matter how thin, would give rise to a non-trivial cross section that had a periodic dependence on the product of charge and total magnetic flux. (This periodic dependence is due to the topological nature of the interaction.) We extend the Aharonov-Bohm analysis to the field theoretic domain: starting with the quantum vacuum (with zero
particles) we compute explicitly the rate of production of electrically charged particle-antiparticle pairs induced by shaking a solenoid at some fixed frequency. (This body of work can be found in arXiv: 0911.0682 and 1003.0674.)

In the second portion of the talk, I will describe how one may use methods usually associated with perturbative quantum field theory to develop what is commonly known as the post-Newtonian program in General Relativity -- the weak field, non-relativistic, gravitational dynamics of compact astrophysical objects. The 2 body aspect of the problem is a large industry by now, driven by the need to model the gravitational waves expected from compact astrophysical binaries. I will discuss my efforts to generalize these calculations to the N-body case. (This work can be found in arXiv: 0812.0012.)