One of the paradigms of contemporary cosmology is that the Big Bang was followed by a phase of rapid expansion, a period called inflation. This mechanism has been very successful in explaining a number of cosmological observations like the flatness of the universe, its isotropy, structure formation which lead to the universe as observed today and the cosmic microwave background (CMB) most recently measured by the Planck satellite.
Despite its huge success we are still lacking a more fundamental understanding of the mechanism underlying and driving inflation. We expect that the dynamics originate from a fundamental but not yet known particle physics theory. Given the high energy scales relevant in inflation (10^14GeV) gravity plays a crucial role and new concepts beyond standard quantum field theory are likely needed.
In this project we will study the idea that the dynamics behind cosmological inflation (gravity coupled to scalar fields) can be computed in terms of its holographic dual, a three dimensional quantum field theory. While it remains hard to make predictions on the gravity side beyond perturbation theory, the three dimensional quantum field theory can be computed from first principles using numerical simulations of quantum field theory.
Our ultimate goal is to make predictions for the power spectrum and non-gaussianities of the CMB which are falsifiable by comparison to the satellite observations.
In this project new field theoretical methods and massively parallel computational algorithms will be developed and employed on new computational architectures (Intel Xeon Phi KNC, KNL, KNH) and existing high performance computers which are amongst the fastest available for research.
If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact
Dr. Andreas Juettner, School of Physics and Astronomy research group, Email: [email protected]
, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 27343.
Prof. Kostas Skenderis, School of Mathematics research group, Email:[email protected]
, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 22332
This project is run through participation in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Next Generation Computational Modelling (http://ngcm.soton.ac.uk). For details of our 4 Year PhD programme, please see http://www.findaphd.com/search/PhDDetails.aspx?CAID=331&LID=2652
For a details of available projects click here http://www.ngcm.soton.ac.uk/projects/index.html
Visit our Postgraduate Research Opportunities Afternoon to find out more about Postgraduate Research study within the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/engineering/news/events/2016/02/03-discover-your-future.page