Inflation, universality and attractors

Marco Scalisi

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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Abstract

We have entered a golden age of precision cosmology.
Impressive advances in observational techniques have rigorously confirmed our theoretical picture of cosmic history.
We can now reliably describe the state of the universe up to a fraction of a second after the big bang.
This is the point in time at which inflation occurs: a minuscule patch of space undergoes a period of extraordinary expansion. This behaves as a natural amplifier, connecting the world of the very small, determined by the laws of quantum mechanics, with that of the very large, obeying Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
My PhD research has focused on the study of this phenomenon in order to approach one of the greatest challenges in theoretical physics, namely how to unify quantum mechanics with general relativity.
Specifically, I have contributed developing a theoretical scenario which suggests that the entire cosmic evolution is governed by a mysterious attractor mechanism. The specific details of the cosmological model at hand get washed out and the observational predictions all converge towards a single value. Surprisingly, this attractor behaviour seems to be intimately related to essential quantum features of gravity.
This opens up an entirely novel window on the challenging problem of finding an observational test for candidate theories of quantum gravity.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Roest, Diederik, Supervisor
  • Bergshoeff, Eric, Supervisor
  • Achucarro, Ana, Assessment committee
  • Hebecker, A., Assessment committee, External person
  • van de Weijgaert, Marinus, Assessment committee
Award date13-Jun-2016
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-90-367-8946-2
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-8945-5
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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