Department of Physics & Astronomy

Spring 2009 Colloquia

 

Anthony Aguirre

Anthony Aguirre

Department of Physics
University of California, Santa Cruz
The Inflationary Multiverse
February 2, 2009, 4PM, Thornton 411

An early epoch of extremely rapid expansion, 'inflation', is widely accepted as a key component of our standard cosmological model, and has made nontrivial and observationally-confirmed predictions. But it has a peculiar and profound side effect: in generic inflation models, the inflationary epoch creates not just one region comparable to our observable universe, but also infinitely many more such regions, leading to a vast, complex spacetime often called the 'inflationary multiverse'. To make matters even more interesting, contemporary work in string theory strongly suggest that at sub-string energy scales, string theory leads to a complex 'effective theory' that would both drive eternal inflation, but also give different (low energy effective) physics and cosmological properties to different regions; this would give great diversity to the multiverse. In this talk I will give an overview of these developments, focusing on giving a picture of the structure of the multiverse, and addressing the issue of how tests or predictions of multiverse models might be made.

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