Acta Physica Hungarica

, Volume 64, Issue 1–3, pp 285–308 | Cite as

Inflation in the Universe, circa 1986

  • Michael S. Turner


The hot big bang cosmology, or the standard cosmology as it is appropriately known, is a highly successful model, providing a reliable and tested accounting of the Universe from 0.01 s after the bang until today, some 15 Gyr later. However, very special initial data seem to be required in order to account for the observed smoothness and flatness of our Hubble volume and for the existence of the small primeval density inhomogeneities required for the formation of structure in the Universe. Inflation offers a means of accounting for these special initial data which is based upon physics at sub-Planck energy scales (≪m pl ≃ 1019 GeV) and is motivated by contemporary ideas in particle theory. Here I review the status of the “Inflationary Paradigm,” Circa 1986. At present essentially all inflationary models involve a very weakly-coupled (quantified by the presence of a dimensionless parameter of order 10−12 or so) scalar field which is displaced from the minimum of its potential. Regions of the Universe where the scalar field is initially displaced from its minimum undergo inflation as the scalar field relaxes, resulting in a Universe today which resembles ours in regions much larger than our present Hubble volume (≃ 1028 cm), but which on very large scales (≫ 1028 cm) may be highly irregular. At present, the most conspicuous blemish on the paradigm is the lack of a compelling particle physics model to implement it. I also briefly review some other unresolved issues facing inflation, including the confrontation between the predictions of inflation and observational data.


Dark Matter Scalar Field Vacuum Energy Cosmic String Cold Dark Matter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael S. Turner
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Fermilab AstrophysicsFermi National Accelerator LaboratoryBataviaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physics and Astronomy and Astrophysics Enrico Fermi InstituteThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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