Abstract:
The origin of dark matter as a thermal relic offers a compelling way in which the early universe was initially populated by dark matter. Alternative explanations typically appear exotic compared to the simplicity of thermal production. However, recent observations and progress from theory suggest that it may be necessary to be more critical. This is important because ongoing searches probing the microscopic properties of dark matter typically rely on the assumption of dark matter as a single, unique, thermal relic. On general grounds I will argue that non-thermal production of dark matter seems to be a robust prediction of physics beyond the standard model. However, if such models are to lead to realistic phenomenology, they must sit in a restrictive theoretical framework. As we will show, as a consequence of such restrictions, viable models will result in concrete and testable predictions. Although many challenges remain, the non-thermal component of such models may offer a new way to test string theories that are formulated to provide realistic particle physics near the electroweak scale.

Abstract:
We consider the effect of the ultraviolet (UV) or short wavelength modes on the background of Brane Gas Cosmology. We find that the string matter sources are negligible in the UV and that the evolution is given primarily by the dilaton perturbation. We also find that the linear perturbations are well behaved and the predictions of Brane Gas Cosmology are robust against the introduction of linear perturbations. In particular, we find that the stabilization of the extra dimensions (moduli) remains valid in the presence of dilaton and string perturbations.

Abstract:
This paper is intended to offer a pedagogical treatment of cosmological modeling and inflationary cosmology. In recent years, inflation has become accepted as a standard scenario making predictions that are testable by observations of the cosmic background. It is therefore manifest that anyone wishing to pursue the study of cosmology and large-scale structure should have this scenario at their disposal. The author hopes this paper will serve to `bridge the gap' between technical and popular accounts of the subject.

Abstract:
We review the notion of the Higgs effect in the context of string theory. We find that by including this effect in time dependent backgrounds, one is led to a natural mechanism for stabilizing moduli at points of enhanced gauge symmetry. We consider this mechanism for the case of the radion (size of the extra dimensions) and find that as decompactification of the large spatial dimensions takes place the radion will remain stabilized at the self dual radius. We discuss how this mechanism can be incorporated into models of string cosmology and brane inflation to resolve some outstanding problems. We also address some issues regarding which string states should be included when constructing low energy actions in string cosmology.

Abstract:
In this talk I will discuss the role of finite temperature quantum corrections in string cosmology and show that they can lead to a stabilization mechanism for the volume moduli. I will show that from the higher dimensional perspective this results from the effect of states of enhanced symmetry on the one-loop free energy. These states lead not only to stabilization, but also suggest an alternative model for cold dark matter. At late times, when the low energy effective field theory gives the appropriate description of the dynamics, the moduli will begin to slow-roll and stabilization will generically fail. However, stabilization can be recovered by considering cosmological particle production near the points of enhanced symmetry leading to the process known as moduli trapping.

Abstract:
We review what can (and cannot) be learned if dark matter is detected in one or more experiments, emphasizing the importance of combining LHC data with direct, astrophysical and cosmological probes of dark matter. We briefly review the conventional picture of a thermally produced WIMP relic density and its connection with theories of electroweak symmetry breaking. We then discuss both experimental and theoretical reasons why one might generically expect this picture to fail. If this is the case, we argue that a combined effort bringing together all types of data -- combined with explicitly constructed theoretical models -- will be the only way to achieve a complete understanding of the dark matter in our universe and become confident that any candidate actually provides the relic density.

Abstract:
We consider the effects of graviton multiplet fields on transitions between string gas phases. Focusing on the dilaton field, we show that it may obstruct transitions between different thermodynamic phases of the string gas, because the sign of its dimensionally reduced, $T$-duality invariant, part is conserved when the energy density of the universe is positive. Thus, many interesting solutions for which this sign is positive end up in a future curvature singularity. Because of this, some of the thermodynamic phases of the usual gravitating string gases behave like superselection sectors. For example, a past-regular Hagedorn phase and an expanding FRW phase dominated by string momentum modes cannot be smoothly connected in the framework of string cosmology with positive sources. The singularity separates them like a geometric precipice in the moduli space, preventing the dynamics of the theory from bridging across. Sources which simultaneously violate the positivity of energy and NEC could modify these conclusions. We provide a quantitative measure of positivity of energy and NEC violations that would be necessary for such transitions. These effects must dominate the universe at the moment of transition, altering the standard gas pictures. At present, it is not known how to construct such sources from first principles in string theory.

Abstract:
We present a critical review and summary of String Gas Cosmology. We include a pedagogical derivation of the effective action starting from string theory, emphasizing the necessary approximations that must be invoked. Working in the effective theory, we demonstrate that at late-times it is not possible to stabilize the extra dimensions by a gas of massive string winding modes. We then consider additional string gases that contain so-called enhanced symmetry states. These string gases are very heavy initially, but drive the moduli to locations that minimize the energy and pressure of the gas. We consider both classical and quantum gas dynamics, where in the former the validity of the theory is questionable and some fine-tuning is required, but in the latter we find a consistent and promising stabilization mechanism that is valid at late-times. In addition, we find that string gases provide a framework to explore dark matter, presenting alternatives to $\Lambda$CDM as recently considered by Gubser and Peebles. We also discuss quantum trapping with string gases as a method for including dynamics on the string landscape.

Abstract:
We derive the 4D low energy effective field theory for a closed string gas on a time dependent FRW background. We examine the solutions and find that although the Brandenberger-Vafa mechanism at late times no longer leads to radion stabilization, the radion rolls slowly enough that the scenario is still of interest. In particular, we find a simple example of the string inspired dark matter recently proposed by Gubser and Peebles.

Abstract:
In this paper we examine whether indirect detection constraints on dark matter associated with a non-thermal history may be significantly improved when accounting for the presence of galactic substructure in the form of dark matter spikes. We find that significant constraints may be derived from the non-observation of an excess of diffuse gamma-rays and from the properties of bright gamma-ray point sources observed by the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, but these constraints depend sensitively on the details of the formation of the first stars and their subsequent black hole remnants. However, we also find that, especially if WIMPs annihilate primarily to quarks or gauge bosons, it is possible to extract meaningful and conservative bounds on the annihilation cross section.