212 research outputs found

    Principles, Progress and Problems in Inflationary Cosmology

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    Inflationary cosmology has become one of the cornerstones of modern cosmology. Inflation was the first theory within which it was possible to make predictions about the structure of the Universe on large scales, based on causal physics. The development of the inflationary Universe scenario has opened up a new and extremely promising avenue for connecting fundamental physics with experiment. This article summarizes the principles of inflationary cosmology, discusses progress in the field, focusing in particular on the mechanism by which initial quantum vacuum fluctuations develop into the seeds for the large-scale structure in the Universe, and highlights the important unsolved problems of the scenario. The case is made that new input from fundamental physics is needed in order to solve these problems, and that thus early Universe cosmology can become the testing ground for trans-Planckian physics.Comment: 8 pages, 8 figures commissioned article for the AAPPS Bulletin, appeared in 200

    Cosmology of the Very Early Universe

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    In these lectures I focus on early universe models which can explain the currently observed structure on large scales. I begin with a survey of inflationary cosmology, the current paradigm for understanding the origin of the universe as we observe it today. I will discuss some progress and problems in inflationary cosmology before moving on to a description of two alternative scenarios - the Matter Bounce and String Gas Cosmology. All early universe models connect to observations via the evolution of cosmological perturbations - a topic which will be discussed in detail in these lectures.Comment: 38 pages, 15 figures, to be published in the proceedings of the XIV Special Course in Astronomy, Observatorio Nacional, Brazi

    Trans-Planckian Physics and Inflationary Cosmology

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    Due to the quasi-exponential red-shifting which occurs during an inflationary period in the very early Universe, wavelengths which at the present time correspond to cosmological lengths are in general sub-Planckian during the early stages of inflation. This talk discusses two approaches to addressing this issue which both indicate that the standard predictions of inflationary cosmology - made using classical general relativity and weakly coupled scalar matter field theory - are not robust against changes in the physics on trans-Planckian scales. One approach makes use of modified dispersion relations for a usual free field scalar matter theory, the other uses some properties of space-time non-commutativity - a feature expected in string theory. Thus, it is possible that cosmological observations may be used as a window to explore trans-Planckian physics. We also speculate on a novel way of obtaining inflation based on modified dispersion relations for ordinary radiation.Comment: 14 pages, 1 figure invited plenary talk at CosPA2002 (National Taiwan Univ., Taipei, Taiwan), to be publ. in the proceedings. Two references added, discussion extende

    Topological Defects and the Formation of Structure in the Universe

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    Topological defects, in particular cosmic strings, give rise to an interesting mechanism for generating the primordial perturbations in the early Universe which are required to explain the present structure. An overview of the cosmic string model will be given, focusing on the predictions of the theory for the large-scale structure of the Universe and for cosmic microwave background anisotropies.Comment: 12 pages, 4 figures, uses LATEX and eps
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