Cosmological inflation refers to an era of expansion that lasted for approximately $10^{-34}$ seconds, during which the universe expanded by a factor of approximately $10^26$ in every direction. This is different from ordinary space expansion and from the acceleration in expansion we experience now ...

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What was the major discovery on gravitational waves made March 17th, 2014, in the BICEP2 experiment?

The Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics held a press conference today to announce a major discovery relating to gravitational waves. What was their announcement, and what are the implications? ...
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369 views

Before inflation, what sets the initial value of the inflaton field?

[This is a version of the question that I've revised based on helpful comments from Dan.] I haven't studied inflation at a technical level. My picture of the process is that we have an inflaton field ...
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1k views

Inflation and the Meaning of Time

I'm not quite sure how to ask this so that it can be answered in layman's terms, but I have lately seen, in several places, that with cosmological inflation, there was a point where the universe ...
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635 views

How is it possible the universe expanded faster than the speed of light during inflation?

In a documentary written in collaboration with Stephen Hawking, the narrator (supposedly Stephen Hawkings) says that by the time the cosmos was 10 minutes old, it had already expanded thousands of ...
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295 views

How is causal patch complementarity compatible with behavior during inflation?

Causal patch complementarity is the conjecture that in de Sitter space with a positive cosmological constant, the states within the causal patch are sufficient to fully describe the universe with the ...
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159 views

What's the $\ell$ in the Bicep2 paper mean?

The BICEP experiment's recent announcement included the preprint of their paper, BICEP2 I: Detection of $B$-mode polarization at degree angular scales. BICEP2 Collaboration. To be submitted. ...
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887 views

Will the Big Rip tear black holes apart?

There seems to be an obvious contradiction between the predictions of the physics of black holes and the Big Rip, a predicted event about 16.7 Gyr in the future where local groups, galaxies, solar ...
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4answers
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Size of universe after inflation?

Wikipedia states the period of inflation was from $10^{-36}$sec to around $10^{-33}$sec or $10^{-32}$sec after Big Bang, but it doesn't say what the size of the universe was when inflation ended. ...
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624 views

Can the Big Rip really rip apart an atomic nucleus?

Some scenarios describing the fate of the matter vs dark energy tug of war on the universe involve the acceleration of the universe increasing to the point that it ends up ripping apart even atoms. ...
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How does Inflation solve the Magnetic Monopole problem?

Cosmological Inflation was proposed by Alan Guth to explain the flatness problem, the horizon problem and the magnetic monopole problem. I think I pretty much understand the first two, however I don't ...
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142 views

BICEP2 and e-foldings during inflation

After the BICEP2 results, we now know that $n_s = 0.96$ and $r = 0.2$. From what I understand, this fits extremely well with the basic chaotic inflation model given by $V(\Phi) = \lambda \Phi^4$. We ...
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photons in expanding space: how is energy conserved?

If a photon (wave package) redshifts (streches) traveling in our expanding universe, is it's energy reduced? If so, where does it go?
8
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443 views

Is eternal inflation and the multiverse compatible with causal patch complementarity?

The argument for eternal inflation is we have some patch of metastable vacuum with positive cosmological constant, and so it expands exponentially a la de Sitter. Most of the patch decays to something ...
8
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118 views

In the B mode power spectrum, what is the relationship between the multipole number and the wavelength of the seed gravitational waves?

One of the key datasets of the recent BICEP2 results is the B mode power spectrum shown below. The existence of these B modes implies the existence of gravitational waves prior to inflation. My ...
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54 views

Hybrid Inflation and Supergravity

Is it necessary to add a constant term in the superpotential of hybrid inflation within supergravity in order to cancel SUSY vacuum energy at the end of inflation?
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218 views

The BICEP2 data are evidence of gravitational waves and of inflation. Are they also the first observation that requires quantum gravity?

It strikes me that the recent announcement of data from BICEP2 contains two really Big Deals: the first evidence of gravitational waves the first evidence of inflation. Is there also a third? ...
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710 views

On Flatness problem, Inflation etc

I have a couple of naive questions from the topic of the title. We know \begin{eqnarray} \Omega-1=\frac{k}{a^2H^2}-\frac{\Lambda}{3H^2} \end{eqnarray} Now I read that from the standard big bang ...
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574 views

de sitter cosmologic limit

It has been said that our universe is going to eventually become a de sitter universe. Expansion will accelerate until their relative speed become higher than the speed of light. So i want to ...
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234 views

Does the Cosmic Microwave Background obey $\sigma T^4$?

The fact that the CMB has a temperature of 2.7 degrees Kelvin is well publicized, but I have a harder time finding a measure of the wattage per unit area. The Wikipedia article on the CMB is totally ...
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What is chaotic about Chaotic Inflation?

Chaos is defined as an aperiodic long-termed behavior, that is very sensitive to initial conditions. Now from this definition I can only conclude that the adjective 'chaos' is a mere analogy, since ...
6
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492 views

Inflation Scale via CMB Polarization

COBE, WMAP, and now PLANCK, have or are in the process of measuring anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background. WMAP has dectected E-mode polarization from electron Thomson scattering, but not ...
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130 views

Causal structure of the inflationary multiverse

In the multiverse as it is described by eternal inflation, it is not clear to me what is its causal structure and in particular if the bubble-universes are causally connected. We start from a ...
6
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338 views

How does universal inflation fit with the Planck length?

If the universe is undergoing inflation, and there is a minimum scale that things can exist at (the Planck length), does that mean that new Planck-sized domains have to be continuously popping into ...
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194 views

Equation of motion for cyclic model of the universe

I recently started to study about cyclic universe. I came across this article [1]. My question is about the action that used for describing the cyclic model: $$S = \int d^{4}x\sqrt{-g}(\frac{1}{16\pi ...
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Time diffeomorphisms breaking in inflation

I am currently working on the topic of inflation. It seems that at the stage of inflation, the universe can be described as a de Sitter space. In such a space, all spacetime diffeomorphisms are ...
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112 views

How can dynamics be reversible if inflation-style baby universe spawning is allowed?

I just finished readying Sean Carroll's book, "From Eternity to Here", and have a question about reversibility and inflation: Assume inflation allows random quantum fluctuations to produce high ...
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239 views

gravitational waves and inflation theory

I am not a technical guy and I have no scientific knowloedge in physics but I have been reading books, watching videos in order to understand our cosmology and ...
5
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181 views

What is the meaning of the “expansion of space”?

When we say that "the space between galaxies is expanding," what do we really mean? For instance, if I think of space as being a Cartesian grid, then when space expands should I think of it as adding ...
5
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364 views

What experiments compete with BICEP 2, and when are their results expected?

The recent results of the BICEP 2 experiment published on March 17th 2014, has generated a lot of media attention, with the general consensus being that "this is a major discovery" perhaps leading to ...
5
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629 views

Planck satellite 2013 results impact on cosmological models

I've recently watched a "Through the Wormhole" episode from 2010 named "What Happened Before the Beginning?", where cyclic and ekpyrotic cosmological models are explained. In this episode the creators ...
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What is the evidence for Inflation of the early universe?

The theory of Inflation explains the apparent consistency of the universe by proposing that the early universe grew exponentially for a 1E-36 seconds. Isn't a simpler explanation that the universe is ...
5
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371 views

What current alternatives are there to the standard concordance model of cosmology?

The current "standard model" or concordance model of cosmology is Lambda CDM which includes late time acceleration due to a cosmological constant, cold dark matter as the missing matter component and ...
5
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306 views

What does string theory say about the metric expansion?

Specifically, what happens to those small intertwined hidden dimensions? Do those expand too?
5
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590 views

Why the red-shift of distant galaxies is considered to be the effect of expanding spacetime?

Why it's not explained just by Doppler redshift caused by faster movement of those galaxies billions of years ago when that light was emitted? Would the speeds of the galaxies necessary for Doppler ...
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394 views

Undergraduate-friendly reading material on the multiverse?

I'll be teaching a seminar for first-year undergraduates next year. The idea of my university's first-year seminar program is to expose students to exciting ideas and important texts in a somewhat ...
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Does expanding space cost energy?

Does the cosmic inflation reduce the energy density (inversely) proportional to the volume, or does the inflation "cost" energy? Is space itself "something" created at the expense of energy?
5
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280 views

Why does the homogeneity of the universe require inflation?

They say inflation must have occured because the universe is very homogeneous. Otherwise, how could one part of the universe reach the same temperature as another when the distance between the parts ...
5
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1answer
249 views

What do the BICEP2 results mean for string gas cosmology and the ekpyrotic universe?

The imprint of gravitational waves created shortly after the big bang may offer direct evidence for inflation theory, according to a discovery by the BICEP2 experiment at the South Pole and released ...
5
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113 views

Could the same symmetry be finetuning both the Higgs mass and the inflaton's interactions?

The observed Higgs boson mass is at an interesting place in parameter space, placing the standard model electroweak vacuum right at the edge of metastability. Among the proposed explanations of this ...
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71 views

$f_{NL}$ non-Gaussianity in cosmology

In the context of cosmology, what is meant by "..arbitrary quadratic non-Gaussianity i.e non-Gaussianity that is described to leading order by a 3-point function.."? (.."quadratic non-Gaussianity" ...
4
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355 views

Question on inflation

I have two particular questions regarding the inflationary scenario. They are: 1.) What is the physical origin of the inflaton field? 2.) Why has the potential of the inflation field its particular ...
4
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220 views

Could dark energy be powered by force particles that obey quantum mechanics?

From what (little) I know about physics, I understand that the universe is expanding due to dark energy, and I understand that no one quite understands it yet. I also understand that the cosmic ...
4
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729 views

The multiverse of eternal inflation

I don't have a clear picture of what is "by definition" the multiverse appearing in the models of eternal inflation. A long time ago I heard that it is a quantum state, but in the cosmology books I ...
4
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1answer
446 views

Inflation and scalar spectral index

I've been reading that the results from the Planck satellite constrain a number called the "scalar spectral index" to be 0.96 rather than 1 at the 5-sigma level. This is supposed to be big news, but ...
4
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1answer
483 views

Additional merits to Wetterich's “Universe without expansion” compared to standard cosmological redshift interpretation?

A recent news item in Nature promotes Wetterich's preprint "A Universe without expansion". All sounds very exciting but hard to judge for non-experts. As I understand from the Nature's article, the ...
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104 views

How can contracting dimensions lead to cosmological inflation?

Using the Kasner metric, given by $$ ds^2 = -dt^2 + \sum_{j=1}^D t^{2p_j}(dx^j) $$ it is possible to not only describe the cosmological expansion of some space directions (the ones with positive ...
4
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49 views

What does it mean to have infinite negative conformal time?

In the context of Inflationary Cosmology, it is postulated that there was a period of shrinking Hubble Sphere radius $(aH)^{-1}$. $$ \frac{d}{dt} (aH)^{-1} < 0 $$ Then the regions of the ...
4
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219 views

Quantum Entanglement Versus Inflation in the Early Universe?

Quantum entanglement is one of the most fascinating and mysterious phenomena in nature. It needs no interactions, or any sort of exchange for it to take place. It is possible, not against any rules of ...
4
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91 views

Does inflation predict a multiverse?

Does inflation necessarily predict a multiverse? Or is it the case that "It all depends on the properties of the initial field responsible for inflation, about which we can only speculate"?
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172 views

Cosmological constant doubts

I have read about cosmological constant given by einstein in universe in nutshell as well as in general and special relativity. But still I am not able to understand the aim to use it or to introduce ...