The Fourth Gulf Coast Gravity Conference was hosted by the University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS March 7 and 8, 2008. The 40 participants witnessed some freak weather, as it was heavily snowing (well, heavy for Mississippi in March...) and the University closed down at the exact hour that the meeting was about to start. The hosts, Marco Cavaglià and Luca Bombelli, produced a well organized meeting with the generous funding of the Department of Physics at Ole Miss, and the author of this summary, as well as all the other participants, wishes to thank them.
Twenty four talks were given, including ten by students who competed for the Topical Group on Gravitation's prize for the student who presented the best talk.
Tyler Landis (LSU) gave the first talk, describing the satus of the multi-patch general relativistic magnetohydrodynamics code developed at LSU. Wolfgang Rindler (UTD) described his work on the contribution of a cosmological constant to the bending of light in a Schwarzschild-de Sitter universe, in the swiss cheese model, arguing that an older claim by Islam for a null effect was incorrect. The effect found by Rindler could be observed with gravitational lensing. Brian Mazur (Ole Miss) discussed high-velocity cloud interactions with the glactic halo, and was followed by Gerrit Verschuur (U. of Memphis) who talked about a possible correlation of the WMAP results and the galactic interstellar hydrogen features. Verschuur described evidence for such a scenario, suggesting that the actual cosmological structure at the time of recombination was much smaller than usually thought, arguing that the observed structure has important galactic contributions. The statistical significance of these intriguing correlations was strongly debated by the participants.
Marco Cavaglià (Ole Miss) gave his interpretation of a Dickens classic, discussing the ghosts of LIGO's past, present, and future, in particular the analysis of a recent GRB and ruling out its hypothesized source in the Andromeda galaxy. Jun-Qi Guo (Ole Miss) discussed data quality vetoes for high-mass compact binary coalescences in LIGO's S5 run, and Myungkee Sung (LSU) discussed the optimal filter technique for detection of gravitational waves with LIGO. Lior Burko (UAHuntsville) discussed a Monte Carlo approach for the calculation of black hole quasi-normal modes as an alternative for the current all-sky average approach, and its application for LISA. Most importantly, Burko argued that for Kerr black holes the many source limit of the Monte Carlo approach does not coincide with the all-sky average results. Steve Detweiler (U. of Florida) reminded the participants of the early days of quasi-normal modes research in the 1970's, and the various names that were in use at the time, including his semi-serious proposal to name them after a human bodily function that reflects their poor quality factor. Steve then continued with a discussion of self force regularization incurve spacetime making use of the singular field.
Saturday talks started with Peter Diener (LSU), who demonstrated his adoption of Louisiana culinary tradition by discussing his turducken recipe. Peter emphasized his insight that a well-stuffed turducken looks just like turkey. And no, Peter did not actually treat us to a turducken dinner, a failure he will have a second chance to remedy when the Fifth Gulf Coast Gravity Conference is hosted next year at LSU. A menu of turducken served with Peter's home baked Danish sourdough beer bread would surely attract many to this important meeting.
Oleg Korobkin (LSU) discussed a finite element approach for solving constraint equations on multi-block triangulations, and Frank Loeffler (LSU) described numerical codes for mixed binaries of a black hole and a neutron star. Pedro Marronetti (FAU) discussed high-spin binary black hole mergers, and the highest spin likely to be created by nature. Ian Vega (U. of Florida) discussed the application of the self force regularization approach to circular Schwarzschild orbits for a scalar toy model in the time domain. Agreement with high accuracy frequency domain results is impressive. Paul Walter (UTA) described the status of OpenGR, an open framework for doing large general relativistic simulations.
Sergio Fabi (UA) discussed the noncommutative geometry approach to zero point energy on extra dimensions. Fabio Scardigli (Kyoto U.) described properties of micro black holes and their possible creation in the LHC, and Usama al-Binni (U. of Tennessee Knoxville) discussed black holes on the brane with tension. James Alsup (U. of Tennessee Knoxville) described Bjorken flow from an AdS-Schwarzschild black hole, and Brett Bolen (Western Kentucky U.) discussed the motivation underlying the quest for having a minimal length scale. Luca Bombelli (Ole Miss) discussed dynamics of causal sets, and Arunava Roy (Ole Miss) addressed discriminating SUSY and black hole at the LHC. Hristu Culetu (Ovidius U., Romania) discussed the Doran-Lobo-Crawford time dependent spacetime, and Alan Stern (UA) discussed discrete spectra from noncommutative geometry, including a quantization of the cosmological constant in a noncommutative Chern-Simons theory.
And the Topical Group on Gravitation Prize for the student who gave the best talk at the Fourth Gulf Coast Gravity Conference, including an actual blue apple trophy, went to ... Ian Vega. Congratulations Ian!
The meeting's website includes abstracts of all talks, at the following URL: