Inflationary Models: Observables and Viability Event as iCalendar
01 March 2017
11am - 12pm
Title: Inflationary Models: Observables and Viability
Abstract: The $\Lambda$CDM model of the universe is the standard model of cosmology. However, it does not explain the observed homogeneity and flatness of the present universe. It has been proposed that a period of rapid expansion in the very early universe (``inflation'') would fix these problems, but we do not have a working implementation of the inflationary paradigm. Firstly, the inflationary mechanism necessarily relies on currently unknown particle physics, and secondly even given a mechanism that could drive inflation, we would need to understand its detailed dynamics, including those associated with the beginning and end of the inflationary phase.
I will introduce inflation and discuss work I've done on a model of inflation over the past year, exploring whether ``simple'' models of inflation are generically compatible with current data. I will then discuss my main project, looking at the ``reheating'' phase at the end of inflation, during energy is transferred from the inflaton field to create the current contents of the universe. This will require solving Einstein's field equations numerically with GRChombo, a new tool in numerical general relativity, looking at novel and unexplored nonlinear dynamics in otherwise simple models of inflation.