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Global dynamics of the universe

By Jelle Pieter Boersma

Abstract

Includes bibliographical references.In this thesis we consider four different topics in the field of cosmology, namely, black hole topology, the averaging problem, the effect of surface terms on the dynamics of classical and quantum fields, and the generation of an open universe through inflation with random initial conditions. It should be mentioned that while the research for this thesis was being done, no large effort was made to pursue a single theme. One reason for the diversity of the topics in this thesis is that the results which came out of this research were not always the results which were expected to be found when the investigation was started. Another reason for looking at several topics is simply that once a problem has been solved, then it is natural to move on to another problem which has not yet been solved. For those readers who value that a thesis is centered around a single unifying theme, let me mention that each of the four topics in this thesis are indeed related. Namely, each topic which we discuss focuses on an aspect of the global dynamics of the universe, in a situation where this is non-trivially different from the local dynamics. The non-trivial relation between global and local dynamics is rarely addressed in cosmology. Partially this is because of the difficulties which arise when one considers a realistic universe with infinitely many coupled degrees of freedom. Hence, it is a common practice to rely on simplifications which reduce the number of degrees of freedom, or the couplings between them. Further, there are few direct observations which probe the large-scale dynamics of the universe, or none at all, depending on the length scale and the type of cosmological model which one considers. As a consequence, there is a considerable freedom in choosing a priori assumptions or simplifications in the field of cosmology, without being able to falsify the validity thereof. For instance, when we analyse the relation between field perturbations at spatial infinity and perturbations here and now, we assume that quantum field theory, as we know it, is valid everywhere between here and spatial infinity. Although one cannot avoid making certain fundamental assumptions, the type of simplifications which are adopted in a calculation plays a less fundamental role. It is the objective of this thesis to improve our understanding of the large scale dynamics of the universe by showing rigorously what one can and what one cannot derive from certain fundamental assumptions. Interestingly, our results are often quite different from the results which are based on the same assumptions, but which involve certain commonly made simplifications as well

Topics: Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, Cosmology
Publisher: Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics
Year: 2000
OAI identifier: oai:open.uct.ac.za:11427/17211

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