Abstract:
The properties of a class of quasi-realistic three-family perturbative heterotic string vacua are addressed. String models in this class generically contain an anomalous U(1), such that the nonzero Fayet-Iliopoulos term triggers certain fields to acquire string scale VEV's along flat directions. This vacuum shift reduces the rank of the gauge group and generates effective mass terms and effective trilinear interactions. Techniques are discussed which yield a systematic classification of the flat directions of a given string model which can be proven to be F- flat to all orders. The effective superpotential along such flat directions can then be calculated to all orders in the string (genus) expansion.

Abstract:
We investigate the possibility of using icosahedral symmetry as a family symmetry group in the lepton sector. The rotational icosahedral group, which is isomorphic to A5, the alternating group of five elements, provides a natural context in which to explore (among other possibilities) the intriguing hypothesis that the solar neutrino mixing angle is governed by the golden ratio. We present a basic toolbox for model-building using icosahedral symmetry, including explicit representation matrices and tensor product rules. As a simple application, we construct a minimal model at tree level in which the solar angle is related to the golden ratio, the atmospheric angle is maximal, and the reactor angle vanishes to leading order. The approach provides a rich setting in which to investigate the flavor puzzle of the Standard Model.

Abstract:
Using the power of superspace formalism, we investigate the decoupling effects of heavy states in N=1 supersymmetric field theory. We find that "mixed" couplings in the superpotential between the heavy and light fields contribute to the effective superpotential at the leading order, and also contribute to the effective K\"{a}hler potential (in the next to leading order). Mixed couplings in the K\"{a}hler potential always contribute to the effective K\"{a}hler potential at the leading order. Several examples are presented which illustrate the effects explicitly.

Abstract:
We determine the units and numerical values for a class of couplings in the effective theory of perturbative heterotic string vacua, with the emphasis on the correct translation between the canonical gauge coupling g and Planck scale M_Planck ~ 1.2 x 10^19 GeV as used in the effective theory description and the string coupling g_string and string tension alpha' as used in the S-matrix amplitude calculation. In particular, we determine the effective couplings in the superpotential and revisit the Fayet-Iliopoulos (FI) term in a class of models with an anomalous U(1). We derive the values of the effective Yukawa couplings (at the third and fourth order) after the restabilization of vacuum along a particular F- and D-flat direction and show that they are comparable in magnitude. The result corrects results quoted in the literature, and may have implications for the string derived phenomenology, e.g., that of fermion textures.

Abstract:
Kination dominated quintessence models of dark energy have the intriguing feature that the relic abundance of thermal cold dark matter can be significantly enhanced compared to the predictions from standard cosmology. Previous treatments of such models do not include a realistic embedding of inflationary initial conditions. We remedy this situation by constructing a viable inflationary model in which the inflaton and quintessence field are the same scalar degree of freedom. Kination domination is achieved after inflation through a strong push or "kick" of the inflaton, and sufficient reheating can be achieved depending on model parameters. This allows us to explore both model-dependent and model-independent cosmological predictions of this scenario. We find that measurements of the B-mode CMB polarization can rule out this class of scenarios almost model independently. We also discuss other experimentally accessible signatures for this class of models.

Abstract:
We describe the features of supersymmetric spectra, alternative to and qualitatively different from that of most versions of the MSSM. The spectra are motivated by extensions of the MSSM with an extra U(1)' gauge symmetry, expected in many grand unified and superstring models, which provide a plausible solution to the mu problem, both for models with supergravity and for gauge-mediated supersymmetry breaking. Typically, many or all of the squarks are rather heavy (larger than one TeV), especially for the first two families, as are the sleptons in the supergravity models. However, there is a richer spectrum of Higgs particles, neutralinos, and (possibly) charginos. Concrete examples of such spectra are presented, and the phenomenological implications are briefly discussed.

Abstract:
The phenomenological possibilities of the Randall-Sundrum non-compact extra dimension scenario with the AdS horizon increased to approximately a millimeter length, corresponding to an effective brane tension of TeV^4, are investigated. The corrections to the Newtonian potential are found to be the only observationally accessible probe of this scenario, as previously suggested in the literature. In particular, the presence of the continuum of KK modes does not lead to any observable collider signatures. The extent to which experimental tests of Newtonian gravity can distinguish this scenario from the scenario of Arkani-Hamed, Dimopoulos, and Dvali with one and two millimeter size extra dimensions is explicitly demonstrated.

Abstract:
We study a two Higgs doublet model augmented by a scalar dark matter particle that provides an excellent fit to the LHC Higgs data and the Fermi-LAT 135 GeV line. The heavy CP-even Higgs boson, which predominantly mediates annihilation and scattering, must have a coupling to weak gauge bosons at or below percent level to suppress the continuum gamma-ray spectrum below the limit from the Fermi-LAT data and the anti-proton spectrum constrained by the PAMELA data. Discovering or excluding this CP-even Higgs boson at the LHC with a mass between 265 and 280 GeV and an enhanced diphoton branching ratio is crucial to test this scenario.

Abstract:
We simulate the measurement of the triscalar Higgs coupling at LHC(8,14) via pair production of h(125 GeV). We find that the most promising hh final state is bb gamma gamma. We account for deviations of the triscalar coupling from its SM value and study the effects of this coupling on the hh cross-section and distributions with cut-based and multivariate methods. Our fit to the hh production matrix element at LHC(14) with 3 ab^-1 yields a 40% uncertainty on this coupling in the SM and a range of 25-80% uncertainties for non-SM values.

Abstract:
We study the consistency of two Higgs doublet models in light of the new bosonic particle discovery at the LHC. We work within a general setup that we call the 2HDM-X, in which the quarks couple to both scalar doublets with aligned couplings such that flavor-changing neutral currents are absent at tree level. The 2HDM-X encompasses the traditional Type I, Type II, lepton specific, and flipped models, but also provides for more general possibilities. The best fit to the current data with a suppressed tau tau signal and a b bbar signal of Standard Model strength is given by the 2HDM-X with specific parameter choices; however, very good fits are also obtained within the lepton-specific model and a democratic model, the 2HDM-D, in which both the up-type and down-type quarks couple to each doublet with equal strengths. The approach provides a general framework in which to interpret future LHC Higgs data within extensions of the Standard Model with two Higgs doublets.