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What have we learnt about inflation from WMAP?

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Precision observations of the cosmic microwave background have supposedly shown that the spectrum of primordial density fluctuations is a scale-free power-law, as well as confirmed the indication from the SNIa Hubble diagram that the universe is dominated by “dark energy”. Looked at more closely the WMAP data suggests that there are features in the spectrum, and physical models of inflation based on supergravity provide a plausible mechanism for generating these through phase transitions as the universe supercools in a false vacuum. This has a major impact on cosmological parameter extraction – the data can then be fitted with no need for dark energy but with eV mass neutrinos in addition to cold dark matter.

This talk is part of the Cavendish Astrophysics Seminars series.

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