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Particle physics models of the early Universe and observational constraints from the cosmic background radiation


The aim of this project is to fully exploit the observational data of modern cosmological experiments for constraining those theoretical models, such as string theory and quantum gravity, proposed in the attempt to understand the fundamental behaviour of Nature. High-energy physics can leave its imprint in the large-scale structure of the Universe during the primordial stage of its evolution, so that microcosm reflects into macrocosm in very non-trivial ways. The observability of effects predicted by these models, and their discrimination from the standard general relativistic picture, are very topical and still unsolved issues, to be confronted with the most recent or upcoming experiments, especially those involving the observation of the cosmic background radiation. The main objectives are twofold. On one hand, we wish to establish one or more reasonable theoretical setups involving string-inspired features (such as extra dimensions) and give either positive or negative evidences for their existence. The in coming flow of new data, especially from WMAP and the Planck mission, will permit us to constrain cosmological scenarios with an unprecedented degree of precision. A clear answer in this respect would boost the physical research and collaboration in many o f its sectors. On the other hand, a refinement of the methods of analysis employed in cosmology for extracting predictions on the observables is necessary in order to compare standard four-dimensional and high-energy scenarios. The starting points are the inflationary setup, encoded in a scalar action recast in the slow-roll formalism, and the patch approach, which generalizes the Friedmann equations to an arbitrary Hubble expansion. While the former framework seems convenient to describe an early era of in flationary acceleration in any reasonable situation, the latter proves resilient enough to cover a wide range of models, including brane worlds and modified gravities.

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Sussex House
United Kingdom

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