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Ekpyrotic and Cyclic Cosmology

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Author: Jean-Luc Lehners
Url: http://arxiv.org/abs/0806.1245
Format: Ps, Pdf
Year: 2008
Category: Cosmology
Pages: 79
Clicks: 1978

Description
Ekpyrotic and cyclic cosmologies provide theories of the very early and of the very late universe. In these models, the big bang is described as a collision of branes - and thus the big bang is not the beginning of time. Before the big bang, there is an ekpyrotic phase with equation of state w=P/rho >> 1 (where P is the average pressure and rho the average energy density) during which the universe slowly contracts. This phase resolves the standard cosmological puzzles and generates a nearly scale-invariant spectrum of cosmological perturbations containing a significant non-gaussian component. At the same time it produces small-amplitude gravitational waves with a blue spectrum. The dark energy dominating the present-day cosmological evolution is reinterpreted as a small attractive force between our brane and a parallel one. This force eventually induces a new ekpyrotic phase and a new brane collision, leading to the idea of a cyclic universe. This review discusses the detailed properties of these models, their embedding in M-theory and their viability, with an emphasis on open issues and observational signatures.

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