# Richard Easther's research while affiliated with Health New Zealand and other places

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## Publications (164)

We quantify the differences between stellar accelerations in disk galaxies formed in a MONDian universe relative to galaxies with the identical baryonic matter distributions and a fitted cold dark matter halo. In a Milky Way-like galaxy the maximal transverse acceleration is 𝒪(10 ⁻⁹ ) arcseconds per year per decade, well beyond even the most optimi...

Ultralight dark matter (ULDM) is an interesting alternative to the cold dark matter (CDM) paradigm. Due to the extremely low mass of the constituent particle (∼10−22 eV), ULDM can exhibit quantum effects up to kiloparsec scales. In particular, runaway collapse in the centres of ULDM halos is prevented by quantum pressure, providing a possible resol...

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) has two scientific objectives of cosmological focus: to probe the expansion rate of the universe, and to understand stochastic gravitational-wave backgrounds and their implications for early universe and particle physics, from the MeV to the Planck scale. However, the range of potential cosmological app...

We quantify the differences between stellar accelerations in disk galaxies formed in a MONDian universe relative to galaxies with the identical baryonic matter distributions and a fitted cold dark matter halo. In a Milky Way-like galaxy the maximal transverse acceleration is ${\cal {O}}(10^{-9})$ arcseconds per year per decade, well beyond even the...

It was recently suggested that "cosmologically coupled" black holes with masses that increase in proportion to the volume of the Universe might constitute the physical basis of dark energy. We take this claim at face value and discuss its potential astrophysical implications. We show that the gravitational wave emission in binary systems would be s...

Ultralight dark matter (ULDM) is an interesting alternative to the cold dark matter (CDM) paradigm. Due to the extremely low mass of the constituent particle ($\sim 10^{-22}$ eV), ULDM can exhibit quantum effects up to kiloparsec scales. In particular, runaway collapse in the centres of ULDM halos is prevented by quantum pressure, providing a possi...

Ultralight dark matter (ULDM) is an axion-like dark matter candidate with an extremely small particle mass. ULDM halos consist of a spherically symmetric solitonic core and an NFW-like skirt. We simulate halo creation via soliton mergers and use these results to explore the core-halo mass relation. We calculate the eigenstates of the merged halos a...

Ultralight dark matter (ULDM) is usually taken to be a single scalar field. Here we explore the possibility that ULDM consists of N light scalar fields with only gravitational interactions. This configuration is more consistent with the underlying particle physics motivations for these scenarios than a single ultralight field. ULDM halos have a cha...

In this Working Paper we analyse computational strategies for using aggregated spatio-temporal population data acquired from telecommunications networks to infer travel and movement patterns between geographical regions. Specifically, we focus on hour-by-hour cellphone counts for the SA-2 geographical regions covering the whole of New Zealand. This...

Following inflation, the Universe may pass through an early matter-dominated phase supported by the oscillating inflaton condensate. Initially small fluctuations in the condensate grow gravitationally on subhorizon scales and can collapse to form nonlinear “inflaton halos.” Their formation and subsequent tidal interactions will source gravitational...

Ultralight dark matter (ULDM) is usually taken to be a single scalar field. Here we explore the possibility that ULDM consists of $N$ light scalar fields with only gravitational interactions. This configuration is more consistent with the underlying particle physics motivations for these scenarios than a single ultralight field. ULDM halos have a c...

The ability to test and constrain theories of cosmic inflation will advance substantially over the next decade. Key data sources include cosmic microwave background (CMB) measurements and observations of the distribution of matter at low-redshift from optical, near-infrared, and 21cm intensity surveys. A positive detection of a CMB B-mode consisten...

UltraLight Dark Matter (ULDM) is an axion-like dark matter candidate with an extremely small particle mass. ULDM halos consist of a spherically symmetric solitonic core and an NFW-like skirt. We simulate halo creation via soliton mergers and use these results to explore the core-halo mass relation. We calculate the eigenstates of the merged halos a...

Random, multifield functions can set generic expectations for landscape-style cosmologies. We consider the inflationary implications of a landscape defined by a Gaussian random function, which is perhaps the simplest such scenario. Many key properties of this landscape, including the distribution of saddles as a function of height in the potential,...

The ability to test and constrain theories of cosmic inflation will advance substantially over the next decade. Key data sources include cosmic microwave background (CMB) measurements and observations of the distribution of matter at low-redshift from optical, near-infrared, and 21cm intensity surveys. A positive detection of a CMB B-mode consisten...

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) has the potential to reveal wonders about the fundamental theory of nature at play in the extreme gravity regime, where the gravitational interaction is both strong and dynamical. In this white paper, the Fundamental Physics Working Group of the LISA Consortium summarizes the current topics in fundament...

Following inflation, the Universe may pass through an early matter-dominated phase supported by the oscillating inflaton condensate. Initially small fluctuations in the condensate grow gravitationally on subhorizon scales and can collapse to form nonlinear ``inflaton halos''. Their formation and subsequent tidal interactions will source gravitation...

Inflationary cosmology proposes that the early Universe undergoes accelerated expansion, driven, in simple scenarios, by a single scalar field or inflaton. The form of the inflaton potential determines the initial spectra of density perturbations and gravitational waves. We show that constraints on the duration of inflation together with the BICEP3...

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) has the potential to reveal wonders about the fundamental theory of nature at play in the extreme gravity regime, where the gravitational interaction is both strong and dynamical. In this white paper, the Fundamental Physics Working Group of the LISA Consortium summarizes the current topics in fundament...

Self-gravitating quantum matter may exist in a wide range of cosmological and astrophysical settings from the very early universe through to present-day boson stars. Such quantum matter arises in a number of different theories, including the Peccei-Quinn axion and ultralight (ULDM) or fuzzy dark matter scenarios. We consider the dynamical evolution...

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) has the potential to reveal wonders about the fundamental theory of nature at play in the extreme gravity regime, where the gravitational interaction is both strong and dynamical. In this white paper, the Fundamental Physics Working Group of the LISA Consortium summarizes the current topics in fundament...

The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) has two scientific objectives of cosmological focus: to probe the expansion rate of the universe, and to understand stochastic gravitational-wave backgrounds and their implications for early universe and particle physics, from the MeV to the Planck scale. However, the range of potential cosmological app...

We simulate the gravitational dynamics of a massive object interacting with ultralight/fuzzy dark matter (ULDM/FDM), nonrelativistic quantum matter described by the Schrödinger-Poisson equation. We first consider a point mass moving in a uniform background, and then a supermassive black hole (SMBH) moving within a ULDM soliton. After replicating si...

The Universe may pass through an effectively matter-dominated epoch between inflation and big bang nucleosynthesis during which gravitationally bound structures can form on subhorizon scales. In particular, the inflaton field can collapse into inflaton halos, forming “large scale” structure in the very early universe. We combine N-body simulations...

Inflationary cosmology proposes that the early Universe undergoes accelerated expansion, driven, in simple scenarios, by a single scalar field, or inflaton. The form of the inflaton potential determines the initial spectra of density perturbations and gravitational waves. We show that constraints on the duration of inflation together with the BICEP...

The Universe may pass through an effectively matter-dominated epoch between inflation and Big Bang Nucleosynthesis during which gravitationally bound structures can form on subhorizon scales. In particular, the inflaton field can collapse into inflaton halos, forming "large scale" structure in the very early universe. We combine N-body simulations...

We simulate the gravitational dynamics of a massive object interacting with Ultralight / Fuzzy Dark Matter (ULDM/FDM), non-relativistic quantum matter described by the Schrodinger-Poisson equation. We first consider a point mass moving in a uniform background, and then a supermassive black hole (SMBH) moving within a ULDM soliton. After replicating...

Self-gravitating quantum matter may exist in a wide range of cosmological and astrophysical settings from the very early universe through to present-day boson stars. Such quantum matter arises in a number of different theories, including the Peccei-Quinn axion and UltraLight (ULDM) or Fuzzy (FDM) dark matter scenarios. We consider the dynamical evo...

Random, multifield functions can set generic expectations for landscape-style cosmologies. We consider the inflationary implications of a landscape defined by a Gaussian random function, which is perhaps the simplest such scenario. Many key properties of this landscape, including the distribution of saddles as a function of height in the potential,...

The early Universe may have passed through an extended period of matter-dominated expansion following inflation and prior to the onset of radiation domination. Subhorizon density perturbations grow gravitationally during such an epoch, collapsing into bound structures if it lasts long enough. The strong analogy between this phase and structure form...

Landscape cosmology posits the existence of a convoluted, multidimensional, scalar potential—the “landscape”—with vast numbers of metastable minima. Random matrices and random functions in many dimensions provide toy models of the landscape, allowing the exploration of conceptual issues associated with these scenarios. We compute the relative numbe...

The early Universe may have passed through an extended period of matter-dominated expansion following inflation and prior to the onset of radiation domination. Sub-horizon density perturbations grow gravitationally during such an epoch, collapsing into bound structures if it lasts long enough. The strong analogy between this phase and structure for...

The distinctive effects of fuzzy dark matter are most visible at nonlinear galactic scales. We present the first simulations of mixed fuzzy and cold dark matter, obtained with an extended version of the nyx code. Fuzzy (or ultralight or axionlike) dark matter dynamics are governed by the comoving Schrödinger-Poisson equation. This is evolved with a...

In this paper, which is of programmatic rather than quantitative nature, we aim to further delineate and sharpen the future potential of the LISA mission in the area of fundamental physics. Given the very broad range of topics that might be relevant to LISA, we present here a sample of what we view as particularly promising directions, based in par...

The distinctive effects of fuzzy dark matter are most visible at non-linear galactic scales. We present the first simulations of mixed fuzzy and cold dark matter, obtained with an extended version of the Nyx code. Fuzzy (or ultralight, or axion-like) dark matter dynamics are governed by the comoving Schr\"odinger-Poisson equation. This is evolved w...

In a broad class of scenarios, inflation is followed by an extended era of matter-dominated expansion during which the inflaton condensate is nonrelativistic on subhorizon scales. During this phase density perturbations grow to the point of nonlinearity and collapse into bound structures. This epoch strongly resembles structure formation with ultra...

Scientific analyses often rely on slow, but accurate forward models for observable data conditioned on known model parameters. While various emulation schemes exist to approximate these slow calculations, these approaches are only safe if the approximations are well understood and controlled. This workshop submission reviews and updates a previousl...

Landscape cosmology posits the existence of a convoluted, multidimensional, scalar potential -- the "landscape" -- with vast numbers of metastable minima. Random matrices and random functions in many dimensions provide toy models of the landscape, allowing the exploration of conceptual issues associated with these scenarios. We compute the relative...

The core-cusp problem is a widely cited motivation for the exploration of dark matter models beyond standard cold dark matter. One such alternative is ultralight dark matter (ULDM), extremely light scalar particles exhibiting wavelike properties on kiloparsec scales. Astrophysically realistic ULDM halos are expected to consist of inner solitonic co...

In simple inflationary cosmological scenarios, the near-exponential growth can be followed by a long period in which the Universe is dominated by the oscillating inflaton condensate. The condensate is initially almost homogeneous, but perturbations grow gravitationally, eventually fragmenting the condensate if it is not disrupted more quickly by re...

We provide an updated assessment of the fundamental physics potential of LISA. Given the very broad range of topics that might be relevant to LISA, we present here a sample of what we view as particularly promising directions, based in part on the current research interests of the LISA scientific community in the area of fundamental physics. We org...

In a broad class of scenarios, inflation is followed by an extended era of matter-dominated expansion during which the inflaton condensate is nonrelativistic on subhorizon scales. During this phase density perturbations grow to the point of nonlinearity and collapse into bound structures. This epoch strongly resembles structure formation with ultra...

In simple inflationary cosmological scenarios the near-exponential growth can be followed by a long period in which the Universe is dominated by the oscillating inflaton condensate. The condensate is initially almost homogeneous, but perturbations grow gravitationally, eventually fragmenting the condensate if it is not disrupted more quickly by res...

Typical stars in the Milky Way galaxy have velocities of hundreds of kilometres per second and experience gravitational accelerations of $\sim\!10^{-10}~{\rm m\,s}^{-2}$ , resulting in velocity changes of a few centimetres per second over a decade. Measurements of these accelerations would permit direct tests of the applicability of Newtonian dynam...

The core-cusp problem is often cited as a motivation for the exploration of dark matter models beyond standard CDM [cold dark matter]. One such alternative is ULDM [ultra-light dark matter]; particles exhibiting wavelike properties on kiloparsec scales. ULDM dynamics are governed by the Schodinger-Poisson equations, which have solitonic ground stat...

Tight constraints on the abundance of primordial black holes can be deduced across a vast range of masses, with the exception of those light enough to fully evaporate before nucleosynthesis. This hypothetical population is almost entirely unconstrained, to the point where the early Universe could pass through a matter-dominated phase with primordia...

Direct measurement of acceleration is a key scientific goal for both cosmology and exoplanets. For cosmology, the concept of redshift drift (more than 60 years old by the 2020s) could directly establish the Friedmann-Lema{\^\i}tre-Robertson-Walker model. It would increase the dark energy figure of merit by a factor of 3 beyond Stage 4 experiments,...

Tight constraints on the abundance of primordial black holes can be deduced across a vast range of masses, with the exception of those light enough to fully evaporate before nucleosynthesis. This hypothetical population is almost entirely unconstrained, to the point where the early Universe could pass through a matter-dominated phase with primordia...

The next generation of instruments designed to measure the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) will provide a historic opportunity to open the gravitational wave window to the primordial Universe. Through high sensitivity searches for primordial gravitational waves, and tighter limits on the energy released in processes like phase...

Typical stars in the Milky Way galaxy have velocities of hundreds of kilometres per second and experience gravitational accelerations of $\sim 10^{-10}$ m s$^{-2}$, resulting in velocity changes of a few centimetres per second over a decade. Measurements of these accelerations would permit direct tests of the applicability of Newtonian dynamics on...

PYULTRALIGHT simulates the dynamics of ultralight dark matter in a non-expanding background. PYULTRALIGHT can describe the evolution of several interacting ultralight dark matter halos or one or more halos orbiting a central, fixed Newtonian potential, the latter scenario corresponding to dwarf galaxies orbiting a massive central galaxy. We verify...

PyUltraLight simulates the dynamics of ultralight dark matter in a non-expanding background. PyUltraLight can describe the evolution of several interacting ultralight dark matter halos or one or more halos orbiting a central, fixed Newtonian potential, the latter scenario corresponding to dwarf galaxies orbiting a massive central galaxy. We verify...

We describe the general inflationary dynamics that can arise with a single, canonically coupled field where the inflaton potential is a 4-th order polynomial. This scenario yields a wide range of combinations of the empirical spectral observables, $n_s$, $r$ and $\alpha_s$. However, not all combinations are possible and next-generation cosmological...

Oscillons are spatially stationary, quasi-periodic solutions of nonlinear field theories seen in settings ranging from granular systems, low temperature condensates and early universe cosmology. We describe a new class of oscillon in which the spatial envelope can have "off centre" maxima and pulsate on timescales much longer than the fundamental f...

It is speculated that the correct theory of fundamental physics includes a large landscape of states, which can be described as a potential which is a function of N scalar fields and some number of discrete variables. The properties of such a landscape are crucial in determining key cosmological parameters including the dark energy density, the sta...

We test the sensitivity of neutrino parameter constraints from combinations of CMB and LSS data sets to the assumed form of the primordial power spectrum (PPS) using Bayesian model selection. Significantly, none of the tested combinations, including recent high-precision local measurements of $\mathrm{H}_0$ and cluster abundances, indicate a signal...

Even simple inflationary scenarios have many free parameters. Beyond the variables appearing in the inflationary action, these include dynamical initial conditions, the number of fields, and couplings to other sectors. These quantities are often ignored but cosmological observables can depend on the unknown parameters. We use Bayesian networks to a...

Even simple inflationary scenarios have many free parameters. Beyond the variables appearing in the inflationary action, these include dynamical initial conditions, the number of fields, and couplings to other sectors. These quantities are often ignored but cosmological observables can depend on the unknown parameters. We use Bayesian networks to a...

Cosmological inflation generates primordial density perturbations on all
scales, including those far too small to contribute to the cosmic microwave
background. At these scales, isolated ultracompact minihalos of dark matter can
form, well before standard structure formation, if the small-scale
perturbations have a large enough amplitude. Such mini...

Cosmological analyses can be accelerated by approximating slow calculations
using a training set, which is either precomputed or generated dynamically.
However, this approach is only safe if the approximations are well understood
and controlled. This paper surveys issues associated with the use of
machine-learning based emulation strategies for acc...

A short inflationary phase may not erase all traces of the primordial
universe. Associated observables include both spatial curvature and "anomalies"
in the microwave background or large scale structure. The present curvature
$\Omega_{K,0}$ reflects the initial curvature, $\Omega_{K,\mathrm{start}}$, and
the angular size of anomalies depends on $k_...

We present MultiModeCode, a Fortran 95/2000 package for the numerical
exploration of multifield inflation models. This program facilitates efficient
Monte Carlo sampling of prior probabilities for inflationary model parameters
and initial conditions and is the first publicly available code that can
efficiently generate large sample-sets for inflati...

Even simple inflationary scenarios have many free parameters. Beyond the variables appearing in the inflationary action, these include dynamical initial conditions, the number of fields, and couplings to other sectors. These quantities are often ignored but cosmological observables can depend on the unknown parameters. We use Bayesian networks to a...

We study the tensor spectral index $n_t$ and the tensor-to-scalar ratio $r$
in the simplest multifield extension to single-field, slow-roll inflation
models. We show that multifield models with potentials $V \sim \sum_i \lambda_i
|\phi_i|^p$ have different predictions for $n_t/r$ than single-field models,
even when all the couplings are equal $\lam...

An inflationary gravitational wave background consistent with BICEP2 is
difficult to reconcile with a simple power-law spectrum of primordial scalar
perturbations. Tensor modes contribute to the temperature anisotropies at
multipoles with $l\lesssim 100$, and this effect --- together with a prior on
the form of the scalar perturbations --- was the...

Using the temperature data from Planck we search for departures from a
power-law primordial power spectrum, employing Bayesian model-selection and
posterior probabilities. We parametrize the spectrum with $n$ knots located at
arbitrary values of $\log{k}$, with both linear and cubic splines. This
formulation recovers both slow modulations and sharp...

While cosmological inflation can erase primordial inhomogeneities, it is
possible that inflation may not begin in a significantly inhomogeneous
universe. This issue is particularly pressing in multifield scenarios, where
even the homogeneous dynamics may depend sensitively on the initial
configuration. This paper presents an initial survey of the o...

We explore whether multifield inflationary models make unambiguous predictions for fundamental cosmological observables. Focusing on N-quadratic inflation, we numerically evaluate the full perturbation equations for models with 2, 3, and O(100) fields, using several distinct methods for specifying the initial values of the background fields. All sc...

We use data from the nominal Planck mission to constrain modulations in the
primordial power spectrum associated with monodromy inflation. The largest
improvement in fit relative to the unmodulated model has \Delta\chi^2~10 and we
find no evidence for a primordial signal, in contrast to a previous analysis of
the WMAP9 dataset, for which \Delta\chi...

Most treatments of large scale anomalies in the microwave sky are a posteriori, with unquantified look-elsewhere effects. We contrast these with physical models of specific inhomogeneities in the early Universe which can generate these apparent anomalies. Physical models predict correlations between candidate anomalies and the corresponding signals...

We use cosmic microwave background (CMB) data from the 9-year WMAP release to
derive constraints on monodromy inflation, which is characterized by a linear
inflaton potential with a periodic modulation. We identify two possible
periodic modulations that significantly improve the fit, but it is unclear
whether this improvement is associated with a "...

We investigate the initial conditions problem for multifield inflation. In
these scenarios the pre-inflationary dynamics can be chaotic, increasing the
sensitivity of the onset of inflation to the initial data even in the
homogeneous limit. To analyze physically equivalent scenarios we compare
initial conditions at fixed energy. This ensures that e...

Within the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model (MSSM), LHC bounds suggest
that scalar superpartner masses are far above the electroweak scale. Given a
high superpartner mass, nonthermal dark matter is a viable alternative to WIMP
dark matter generated via freezeout. In the presence of moduli fields
nonthermal dark matter production is associated...

Oscillons are long-lived, localized excitations of nonlinear scalar fields
which may be copiously produced during preheating after inflation, leading to a
possible oscillon-dominated phase in the early Universe. For example, this can
happen after axion monodromy inflation, on which we run our simulations. We
investigate the stochastic gravitational...

We implement Slow Roll Reconstruction -- an optimal solution to the inverse
problem for inflationary cosmology -- within ModeCode, a publicly available
solver for the inflationary dynamics. We obtain up-to-date constraints on the
reconstructed inflationary potential, derived from the WMAP 7-year dataset and
South Pole Telescope observations, combin...

We discuss the model selection problem for inflationary cosmology. We couple
ModeCode, a publicly-available numerical solver for the primordial perturbation
spectra, to the nested sampler MultiNest, in order to efficiently compute
Bayesian evidence. Particular attention is paid to the specification of
physically realistic priors, including the para...

Oscillons are massive, long-lived, localized excitations of a scalar field.
We show that in a large class of well-motivated single-field models, inflation
is followed by self-resonance, leading to copious oscillon generation and a
lengthy period of oscillon domination. These models are characterized by an
inflaton potential which has a quadratic mi...

MPI-Defrost extends Frolov's Defrost to an MPI-based cluster
environment. This version has been restricted to a single field.
Restoring two-field support should be straightforward, but will require
some code changes. Some output options may also not be fully supported
under MPI. This code was produced to support our own work, and has been
made avai...

In a class of recently proposed models, the early universe is strongly
coupled and described holographically by a three-dimensional, weakly coupled,
super-renormalizable quantum field theory. This scenario leads to a power
spectrum of scalar perturbations that differs from the usual empirical LCDM
form and the predictions of generic models of singl...

We describe a novel approach to accelerating Monte Carlo Markov Chains. Our
focus is cosmological parameter estimation, but the algorithm is applicable to
any problem for which the likelihood surface is a smooth function of the free
parameters and computationally expensive to evaluate. We generate a high-order
interpolating polynomial for the log-l...

ModeCode is a publicly available code that computes the primordial
scalar and tensor power spectra for single field inflationary models.
ModeCode solves the inflationary mode equations numerically, avoiding
the slow roll approximation. It provides an efficient and robust
numerical evaluation of the inflationary perturbation spectrum, and
allows the...

Analytical arguments suggest that a large class of scalar field potentials permit the existence of oscillons -- pseudo-stable, non-topological solitons -- in three spatial dimensions. In this paper we numerically explore oscillon solutions in three dimensions. We confirm the existence of these field configurations as solutions to the Klein-Gorden e...

Future astrophysical datasets promise to strengthen constraints on models of
inflation, and extracting these constraints requires methods and tools
commensurate with the quality of the data. In this paper we describe ModeCode,
a new, publicly available code that computes the primordial scalar and tensor
power spectra for single field inflationary m...

We consider the running of the spectral index as a probe of both inflation
itself, and of the overall evolution of the very early universe. Surveying a
collection of simple single field inflationary models, we confirm that the
magnitude of the running is relatively consistent, unlike the tensor amplitude,
which varies by orders of magnitude. Given...

PSpectRe is a C++ program that uses Fourier-space pseudo-spectral methods to evolve interacting scalar fields in an expanding universe. PSpectRe is optimized for the analysis of parametric resonance in the post-inflationary universe, and provides an alternative to finite differencing codes, such as Defrost and LatticeEasy. PSpectRe has both second-...

We analyze the evolution of the perturbations in the inflaton field and
metric following the end of inflation. We present accurate analytic
approximations for the perturbations, showing that the coherent oscillations of
the post-inflationary condensate necessarily break down long before any current
phenomenological constraints require the universe...

A population of very light primordial black holes which evaporate before nucleosynthesis begins is unconstrained unless the decaying black holes leave stable relics. We show that gravitons Hawking radiated from these black holes would source a substantial stochastic background of high frequency gravititational waves (10(12) Hz or more) in the prese...

Given a scalar field with metastable minima, bubbles nucleate quantum mechanically. When bubbles collide, energy stored in the bubble walls is converted into kinetic energy of the field. This kinetic energy can facilitate the classical nucleation of new bubbles in minima that lie below those of the "parent" bubbles. This process is efficient and cl...