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COSMIC INFLATION

Andreas Albrecht


U. C. Davis Department of Physics, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA, 95616


Abstract. I review the current status of the theory of Cosmic Inflation. My discussion covers the motivation and implementation of the idea, as well as an analysis of recent successes and open questions. There is a special discussion of the physics of "cosmic coherence" in the primordial perturbations. The issue of coherence is at the heart of much of the success inflation theory has achieved at the hands of the new microwave background data. While much of this review should be useful to anyone seeking to update their knowledge of inflation theory, I have also made a point of including basic material directed at students just starting research.


Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

MOTIVATING INFLATION: THE COSMOLOGICAL FEATURES/PROBLEMS
The Standard Big Bang
The Flatness Feature
The Homogeneity Feature
The Horizon Feature
When the Features become Problems
The Monopole Problem

THE MACHINERY OF INFLATION AND WHAT IT CAN DO
The potential dominated state
A simple inflationary cosmology: Solving the problems
Mechanisms for producing inflation
The start of inflation
Perturbations
Further remarks

COSMIC COHERENCE
Key ingredients
A toy model
The results of coherence

PREDICTIONS
Flatness
Coherence
Perturbation spectrum and other specifics

THE BIG PICTURE AND OPEN QUESTIONS

CONCLUSIONS

REFERENCES

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