The old and new universe in the era of precision cosmology

Cortês, Marina V (2010) The old and new universe in the era of precision cosmology. Doctoral thesis (DPhil), University of Sussex.

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These are privileged times to be a cosmologist. Recent years have witnessed unprecedented progress in observational and computational techniques and we now are able to quantify cosmological properties with unprecedented accuracy. My work builds upon this observational accuracy by establishing a connection with viable theoretical models. I focus on two specifics eras of the universe’s evolution, namely inflation and today’s cosmic acceleration. In the context of single field inflationary models I illustrate the relation between the spectra of curvature and gravitational wave perturbations. I conclude that their mutual interdependence extends beyond the usual amplitude consistency relation and can be traced all the way to infinite order of accuracy. This yields an infinite hierarchy of consistency relations between these spectra and their derivatives. On a observational perspective, using WMAP’s data, I explore the dependence of CMB constraints on inflation with the cosmological scale at which these are chosen to be presented. I develop a technique that allows for an appropriate choice of this scale and show that this way constraints may be improved by as much as 5 times. In the context of the particle physics motivated quintessence models I have looked at the ability of early universe probes - namely Big Bang Nucleosynthesis - for distinguishing between different dark energy proposals when combined with standard distance modulus or the Hubble rate techniques. I conclude that more yet more accurate measurements are required if observations are to successfully confirm or rule out these models as potential candidates against a cosmological constant. I also analyze possible effects that may mimic or underlie cosmic acceleration effects. I focus on a potential lack of knowledge of the precise values of particular cosmological parameters such as the curvature and matter content of the universe. I find that even a small uncertainty in any of this two quantities leads to significant bias on the reconstruction of dark energy properties, when typical probes like the distance luminosity and the Hubble rate are considered. I conclude that in order to disentangle between these effects a combination of distance and expansion history measurements is required.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2010
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2015 13:25
Google Scholar:0 Citations

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