Abstract:
A nonlinear Schr\"odinger equation with repulsive (defocusing) nonlinearity is considered. As an example, a system with a spatially varying coefficient of the nonlinear term is studied. The nonlinearity is chosen to be repelling except on a finite interval. Localized standing wave solutions on a non-zero background, e.g., dark solitons trapped by the inhomogeneity, are identified and studied. A novel instability criterion for such states is established through a topological argument. This allows instability to be determined quickly in many cases by considering simple geometric properties of the standing waves as viewed in the composite phase plane. Numerical calculations accompany the analytical results.

Abstract:
Recent numerical investigations have uncovered a surprising result: Reissner-Nordstrom-de Sitter black holes are unstable for spacetime dimensions larger than 6. Here we prove the existence of such instability analytically, and we compute the timescale in the near-extremal limit. We find very good agreement with the previous numerical results. Our results may me helpful in shedding some light on the nature of the instability.

Abstract:
We present a (hopefully) novel calculation of the vacuum energy in expanding FLRW spacetimes based on the renormalization of quantum field theory in non-zero backgrounds. We compute the renormalized effective action up to the $2-$point function and then apply the formalism to the cosmological backgrounds of interest. As an example we calculate for quasi de Sitter spacetimes the leading correction to the vacuum energy given by the tadpole diagram and show that it behaves as $\sim H_0^2 \Lambda_{\rm pl}$ where $H_0$ is the Hubble constant and $\Lambda_{\rm pl}$ is the Planck constant. This is of the same order of magnitude as the observed dark energy density in the universe.

Abstract:
In this talk we review the appearance of new types of singularities (big rip, sudden singularities...) in FLRW cosmological models that have arisen on considering explanations for accelerated expansion of our universe.

Abstract:
We give distance--redshift relations in terms of elliptic integrals for three different mass distributions of the Friedmann-Lema\^\i tre-Robertson-Walker (FLRW) cosmology. These models are dynamically pressure free FLRW on large scales but, due to mass inhomogeneities, differ in their optical properties. They are the filled-beam model (standard FLRW), the empty-beam model (no mass density exists in the observing beams) and the 2/3 filled-beam model. For special $\OM$-- $\OL$ values the elliptic integrals reduce to more familiar functions. These new expressions for distance-redshift significantly reduce computer evaluation times.

Abstract:
A certain class of superselection sectors of the free massless scalar field in 3 space dimensions is considered. It is shown that these sectors, which cannot be localised with respect to the vacuum, acquire a much better localisation, namely in spacelike cones, when viewed in front of suitable ``infravacuum'' backgrounds. These background states coincide, essentially, with a class of states introduced by Kraus, Polley and Reents as models for clouds of infrared radiation.

Abstract:
This paper presents the linearised Boltzmann equation for photons for scalar, vector and tensor perturbations in flat, open and closed FLRW cosmologies. We show that E- and B-mode polarisation for all types can be computed using only a single hierarchy. This was previously shown explicitly for tensor modes in flat cosmologies but not for vectors, and not for non-flat cosmologies.

Abstract:
The standard energy conditions of classical general relativity are applied to FLRW cosmologies containing sudden future singularities. Here we show, in a model independent way, that although such cosmologies can satisfy the null, weak and strong energy conditions, they always fail to satisfy the dominant energy condition. They require a divergent spacelike energy flux in all but the comoving frame.

Abstract:
In the context of bubble universes produced by a first-order phase transition with large nucleation rates compared to the inverse dynamical time scale of the parent bubble, we extend the usual analysis to non-vacuum backgrounds. In particular, we provide semi-analytic and numerical results for the modified nucleation rate in FLRW backgrounds, as well as a parameter study of bubble walls propagating into inhomogeneous (LTB) or FLRW spacetimes, both in the thin-wall approximation. We show that in our model, matter in the background often prevents bubbles from successful expansion and forces them to collapse. For cases where they do expand, we give arguments why the effects on the interior spacetime are small for a wide range of reasonable parameters and discuss the limitations of the employed approximations.

Abstract:
The geodesic deviation equation (`GDE') provides an elegant tool to investigate the timelike, null and spacelike structure of spacetime geometries. Here we employ the GDE to review these structures within the Friedmann--Lema\^{\i}tre--Robertson--Walker (`FLRW') models, where we assume the sources to be given by a non-interacting mixture of incoherent matter and radiation, and we also take a non-zero cosmological constant into account. For each causal case we present examples of solutions to the GDE and we discuss the interpretation of the related first integrals. The de Sitter spacetime geometry is treated separately.