Origin of the Vacuum Energy and Electroweak Scales

Coordinators: Nima Arkani-Hamed, Jiji Fan, and Raman Sundrum

The field of fundamental physics is about to enter a critical period. Given the absence of convincing evidence for new particles at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) so far, it is plausible that by spring 2019, when the results of just-concluded Run 2 come out, no definite evidence for new particles beyond the Higgs boson will be found. This would represent a crisis in our understanding because of the destabilizing effects of vacuum quantum fluctuations on the Higgs potential in the absence of new physics. It would join two outstanding cosmological mysteries rooted in the physics of vacuum energy, namely Dark Energy today and Cosmic Inflation in the early universe. These two arenas also have strong experimental programs, but as yet they have not uncovered details of the underlying vacuum dynamics.

The program aims at bringing together experts in fundamental particle physics and cosmology to brainstorm new ideas on the origin of the vacuum energy, inflationary and electroweak scales. The aim is to stimulate novel theoretical directions as well as to identify new and perhaps unusual experimental opportunities. This workshop will act as a stimulus to renewed action on both theoretical and experimental fronts.