Why do Cosmological Perturbations Look Classical to Us?
Abstract:According to the inflationary scenario of cosmology, all structure in the Universe can be traced back to primordial fluctuations during an accelerated (inflationary) phase of the very early Universe. A conceptual problem arises due to the fact that the primordial fluctuations are quantum, while the standard scenario of structure formation deals with classical fluctuations. In this essay we present a concise summary of the physics describing the quantum-to-classical transition. We first discuss the observational indistinguishability between classical and quantum correlation functions in the closed system approach (pragmatic view). We then present the open system approach with environment-induced decoherence. We finally discuss the question of the fluctuations' entropy for which, in principle, the concrete mechanism leading to decoherence possesses observational relevance.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 1, 2009
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