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Inflationary universe: a possible solution to the horizon and flatness problems. (English) Zbl 1371.83202
Summary: The standard model of hot big-bang cosmology requires initial conditions which are problematic in two ways: (1) The early universe is assumed to be highly homogeneous, in spite of the fact that separated regions were causally disconnected (horizon problem); and (2) the initial value of the Hubble constant must be fine tuned to extraordinary accuracy to produce a universe as flat (i.e., near critical mass density) as the one we see today (flatness problem). These problems would disappear if, in its early history, the universe supercooled to temperatures 28 or more orders of magnitude below the critical temperature for some phase transition. A huge expansion factor would then result from a period of exponential growth, and the entropy of the universe would be multiplied by a huge factor when the latent heat is released. Such a scenario is completely natural in the context of grand unified models of elementary-particle interactions. In such models, the supercooling is also relevant to the problem of monopole suppression. Unfortunately, the scenario seems to lead to some unacceptable consequences, so modifications must be sought.

83F05 Cosmology
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