The point of this project is to study the Einstein’ equation (as a model of gravity) coupled to the Euler equations (as a model of cosmological matter) and the scalar field equations (as a model of the “inflaton” driving “inflation”) in the cosmological setting close to a big bang singularity. The purpose is to shed light on the properties of inflation, one of the corner stones of the so-called standard model of cosmology, in the inhomogeneous and anisotropic setting. How does inflation start and how does it end (graceful exit from inflation) in general? How do different regions in space with potentially different periods of inflation interact gravitationally? Is the "standard model of cosmology" with its drastically simplifying assumptions really a good approximation to describe the early universe? The project is supposed to build on previous mathematical work by the supervisor and co-authors (just look for the supervisor’s papers on http://arxiv.org) and extend them using mostly numerical techniques. The outcome could be interesting new insights on how gravity and matter interact in this extreme and often counterintuitive period of the history of the universe.
The University of Otago offers PhD scholarships to qualified international students. You can find more information on this program at View Website.