We are fortunate to live in an era of great discoveries in fundamental physics, and most of the theoretical understanding that made this possible is based on effective field theories. In this talk, I will show how these powerful techniques can be applied across the spectrum of theoretical physics, and allow us to draw unexpected connections among very different systems. To illustrate this, I will discuss two interesting but very different phenomena, and show how they can both be described using a point-like particle effective theory.
The first phenomenon I will consider is superradiance---a dissipative phenomenon by which a spinning object can amplify the intensity of scattered radiation, or be unstable by creation of particles in a bound state. This phenomenon is particularly interesting when applied to spinning black holes, and in this context it has recently received significant attention as a possible probe of ultra-light particle beyond the Standard Model.
The second phenomenon I will discuss is the existence of roton excitations in superfluid He4. By treating rotons as point-like particles--albeit of a very special kind--I will write down an effective theory that describes the motion of rotons in the medium at equilibrium as well as their couplings to sound waves and generic fluid flows. This approach allows us to correct classic results by Landau and Khalatnikov on roton-phonon scattering, and to pose and answer the intriguing question: do rotons sink or float?