3:00 pm Zoom Room (online)
Sam Passaglia, "The Black Hole Window on Cosmic Inflation"
PhD Advisor: Wayne Hu
Our universe's primordial inhomogeneities were formed during its initial growth spurt, cosmic inflation. My thesis seeks to understand how the as-yet-unknown physics that controls inflation constrains these inhomogeneities. As a guiding thread, I ask what has to happen during inflation for the inhomogeneities to be so large that they collapse to form primordial black holes in sufficient abundance to be the dark matter. I will start with the simplest single-field slow-roll paradigm for inflation, which cannot produce primordial black hole dark matter, and then gradually relieve its assumptions. After developing the effective field theory of inflation, I will highlight the importance of the single-clock condition in controlling the inhomogeneities. Going beyond single-clock inflation will take us to qualitatively different inflationary scenarios and finally to understanding the physics of the Higgs field during inflation.