I've some basic questions about inflation:
What is reheating exactly? What triggered the reheating? Is it something that one pulls out of a hat? Through which force did the decay of the inflation occur ?
How can I picture the inflaton? It is a scalar field, like the Higgs, could we ever hope to observe the inflaton? Can we assign to the field excitation a mass?
On the blog Quantum Frontier I read the following:
"A possible solution the the super-Planckian value of the change of the inflaton field during the inflation is that the field didn't go in a straight line but somehow turned in circles." (Preskill's post on Quantum Frontiers)
What is meant by "going into circles" ? That it oscillated around a minimum of the potential (but isn't that the phenomenon associated to reheating ?) Or is it an identification, e.g. $\phi(x)= \phi (x+2\pi)$? (This seems even stranger :S.)
Thanks in advance.