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Killing the straw man: Does BICEP prove inflation at the GUT scale?

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The surprisingly large value of r, the ratio of power in tensor to scalar density perturbations in the CMB reported by the BICEP2 Collaboration, if confirmed, provides strong evidence for

The surprisingly large value of r, the ratio of power in tensor to scalar density perturbations in the CMB reported by the BICEP2 Collaboration, if confirmed, provides strong evidence for Inflation at the GUT scale. While the Inflationary signal remains the best motivated source, a large value of r alone would still allow for the possibility that a comparable gravitational wave background might result from a self ordering scalar field (SOSF) transition that takes place later at somewhat lower energy. We find that even without detailed considerations of the predicted BICEP signature of such a transition, simple existing limits on the isocurvature contribution to CMB anisotropies would definitively rule out a contribution of more than 5% to r = 0.2. We also present a general relation for the allowed fractional SOSF contribution to r as a function of the ultimate measured value of r. These results point strongly not only to an inflationary origin of the BICEP2 signal, if confirmed, but also to the fact that if the GUT scale is of order 10[superscript 16] GeV then either the GUT transition happens before Inflation or the Inflationary transition and the GUT transition must be one and the same.

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Date Created
  • 2014-07-30

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Higgs Seesaw Mechanism as a Source for Dark Energy

Description

Motivated by the seesaw mechanism for neutrinos which naturally generates small neutrino masses, we explore how a small grand-unified-theory-scale mixing between the standard model Higgs boson and an otherwise massless

Motivated by the seesaw mechanism for neutrinos which naturally generates small neutrino masses, we explore how a small grand-unified-theory-scale mixing between the standard model Higgs boson and an otherwise massless hidden sector scalar can naturally generate a small mass and vacuum expectation value for the new scalar which produces a false vacuum energy density contribution comparable to that of the observed dark energy dominating the current expansion of the Universe. This provides a simple and natural mechanism for producing the correct scale for dark energy, even if it does not address the long-standing question of why much larger dark energy contributions are not produced from the visible sector. The new scalar produces no discernible signatures in existing terrestrial experiments so that one may have to rely on other cosmological tests of this idea.

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Date Created
  • 2013-08