Developing a New Theory of the Very Early Universe
Was there a Big Bang? What is responsible for the highly ordered distribution of matter and light in the universe? These are two of the important questions that Professor Robert Brandenberger is trying to answer in his research.
The current paradigm of early universe cosmology—the inflationary universe scenario—has been very successful at explaining some of the recent cosmological observations. The existing models, however, are not (yet) consistent with the fundamental physical laws of nature, and they are also plagued with serious conceptual problems.
Canada Research Chair Brandenberger and his collaborators are working on the development of a new theory of the very early universe based on superstring theory, a quantum theory of all forces of nature.
The new theory has the potential of explaining why there are precisely three large spatial dimensions. It may also be free of singularities, which are points in space-time where physical quantities are infinite, and (therefore) where the physical laws break down.
An important aspect of the research is to determine whether the new theory includes a period of cosmological inflation, or whether it will lead to the development of an alternative cosmology.
The results of Brandenberger's research will have profound implications for our understanding of the development of the early universe. It is hoped that the new theory will allow predictions, which can be tested in future cosmological observations, and that it will permit us to probe the structure of the theory of fundamental forces.