22-26 August 2011, Porto, Portugal
Randomness in the Universe?
The Hot Big Bang model describing our Universe is now so well-attested by observations it is called the standard cosmology. The best evidence for this comes from the cosmic microwave sky, the relic radiation left over from the initial Big Bang explosion. However, cosmologists have now added inflation to the standard cosmology, that is, an epoch of rapid exponential growth during the first fractions of a second after the beginning of the Universe. This is because inflation creates random primordial seeds around which galaxies and other structures can form in the late Universe. In fact, inflation predicts these seeds will be purely random to about 1 part in a million (i.e. their statistical properties will precisely follow the so-called 'Bell curve' or normal distribution). This prediction is arguably the most stringent test of the standard cosmology and the theory will come under intense scrutiny from new experiments like the Planck satellite and future galaxy surveys.