Constraining the physics of the early Universe

Pinto Vieira, Jose Pedro (2018) Constraining the physics of the early Universe. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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The established cosmological theory which describes the history of the Universe since shortly after the “Big Bang” until today is remarkably successful. Thanks to the increasing precision of available observational data, we are now able to considerably constrain the geometry and composition of the Universe - and to glimpse how these will evolve in the near future. However, this success comes at a price: one must assume the Universe “started” in a highly fine-tuned initial condition. Understanding what came before this is therefore one of the main goals of modern cosmology.

This thesis attempts to further our understanding of the epoch before this initial condition in three different ways.

Firstly, the concept of negative absolute temperatures (NAT) is introduced and its potential relevance for cosmology is investigated. In particular, it is shown that a Universe at a NAT should undergo a period of inflation - although it is unclear whether this would be consistent with current observations.

Secondly, work is done on the topic of the evolution of networks of cosmic strings - topological defects which are expected to form in a broad class of phase transitions the
Universe may have gone through. A model which takes into account the presence of small-scale structure in strings is used to address questions concerning the existence and stability of scaling regimes for these networks.

Finally, it is investigated how future experiments might try to falsify a simple class of canonical single-field slow-roll inflation models by measuring the running and the running of the running of the spectral index of scalar perturbations.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy > QB0980 Cosmogony. Cosmology
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2018 14:05
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2018 14:05

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