Defense Date

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Physics and Applied Physics

First Advisor

Robert H. Gowdy

Second Advisor

Marilyn F. Bishop

Third Advisor

Denis Demchenko

Fourth Advisor

Marco Aldi

Abstract

ΛCDM cosmology is described in terms of general relativity and the Robertson-Walker metric. The evolution of the observable universe, currently dominated by dark energy (Λ) and cold dark matter (CDM), is presented in terms of its thermal history. CDM is extended to include an inflation epoch that accelerates the early expansion rate to near exponential levels. It is shown that inflation solves several problems in CDM and produces perturbations in the metric that lead to the observed anisotropies in the Cosmic Microwave Background and the formation of large scale cosmological structures. Various theories of inflation are explored. Predictions of inflation theories are compared to observations published by the Planck Collaboration. The paper concludes with an examination of “𝜶-attractor” theories of inflation based on a modified form of gravity.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

11-24-2015

Included in

Other Physics Commons

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