The phenomenology of Inflation
Start date: Sep 1, 2012,
End date: Aug 31, 2014
Inflationary cosmology as a theory of the very early universe remains a paradigm in search of a theory in which it is realized in a fully consistent manner.Observationally, we are currently confronted with a wealth of data that seems to confirm the simplest realizations of this paradigm. Theoretically, we are still searching for a convincing realization of inflation that consistently embeds itself into a parent theory that contains the Standard Model as a sub-sector.Requiring the inflationary potential be tuned so that a sufficient amount of quasi-exponential expansion results is a delicate proposition at the loop level inany effective field theory (EFT) that contains the inflaton. To require that these parameters be consistent with efficient reheating to standard model particles is an even more delicate proposition. To consistently realize all possible constraints at the loop level in a model that embeds itself in a purported model of UV completephysics (such as string theory or some low energy supergravity theory) remains the challenge of the day for inflationary model building.In spite of the vast number of models that seem to be degenerate regarding their predictions (with certain assumptions) of the observed properties of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) power spectrum, the next generation of CMB observationsoffers us the possibility of discriminating among these models through their predictions for the higher order moments of the CMB. Furthermore, relaxing some of the simplifying assumptions alluded to above (such as consistently treating heavyfields that couple to the inflaton in an EFT setup rather than truncating them outright) can yield features in the power spectrum that may be detected in upcoming observations.This goal of Inflation-pheno is to initiate a systematic study of the imprints on CMB observables of concrete models of inflation and to scrutinize them against observations from upcoming CMB and 21 cm observations.
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