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The warm inflationary universe

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In the past decade, the importance of dissipation and fluctuation to inflationary dynamics has been realized and has led to a new picture of inflation called warm inflation. Although these phenomena are common to condensed matter systems, for inflation models their importance has only recently started to be appreciated. The article describes the motivation for these phenomena during inflation and then examines their origins from first principles quantum field theory treatments of inflation models. Cosmology today is a data intensive field and this is driving theory to greater precision and predictability. This opens the possibility to consider tests for detecting observational signatures of dissipative processes, which will be discussed. In addition, it will be discussed how particle physics and cosmology are now working in tandem to push the boundaries of our knowledge about fundamental physics.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00107510500392030

Affiliations: School of Physics, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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