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Research Van Swinderen Institute Research

Physics of the Big Bang

This research line investigates the physics of inflation, the phase of accelerated expansion in the first fraction of a second after the Big Bang. During this phase, minute quantum fluctuations have provided the initial conditions for the subsequent structure formation in the later Universe.

Remarkably, there are specific observational remnants left from the inflationary period in the current Universe. For instance, the fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background have provided a lot of information on the origin of the Universe. For the coming decade, it is expected that observations on the large-scale structure of the Universe are going to take center stage in this field. Crucial observational targets are the detection of tensor modes, consisting of primordial gravitational waves, as well as non-Gaussianities in the primordial fluctuations.

At the VSI, we contribute to the theoretical underpinning of inflation, for instance by relating inflationary models to theories of high-energy physics. In this manner, we have proposed a theoretical model that explains the latest CMB findings by the Planck satellite.

Last modified:28 August 2017 2.40 p.m.