Inflation, a period of exponential expansion of the cosmic scale factor R in the very early universe, seems to resolve a few fundamental problems of the standard big bang cosmology. The apparent homogeneity and isotropy of the universe at large scales, the existence of structure at small scales as well as the nearly 'flatness' of the universe are immediate consequences of an inflationary big bang cosmology. In this paper, the present status of cosmic inflation is discussed. After analyzing the basic ingredients that come to play in constructing inflationary models, the successes and failures of the 'old' and 'new' inflation models and their replacement by primordial inflation are discussed. Then, the status of primordial inflation is considered, not only because it is a leading candidate for inflation, but because it may emerge naturally from superstrings, the long-sought fundamental 'theory of everything'.
Liege International Astrophysical Colloquia
- Pub Date:
- Big Bang Cosmology;