Daan Meerburg
(Princeton University)

Putting inflation to the test

In this talk I will address 2 questions. How can we test inflation as a scientific paradigm and if inflation happened, what we can we learn from observations about the physical mechanism behind it. I will present work on the latter based on looking for the existence of specific deviations from scale invariance through the presence of features in the CMB correlation functions. Looking for features used to be a computationally demanding effort, and I will show that by assuming that these features are perturbative w.r.t. to the overall scale dependence, large chunks of parameter space can be covered very efficiently. I will discuss the implications of our findings. For the former I will present work on testing the inflation consistency condition using the CMB and ground based gravitational wave detectors. I will show that even without BICEP data, one can already effectively use ground based detectors as well as constraints coming directly from the expansion history of the Universe, to put interesting limits on the r-n_t plane.