Lorentz Center - Effective Field Theory in Inflation from 16 Jul 2012 through 20 Jul 2012
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    Effective Field Theory in Inflation
    from 16 Jul 2012 through 20 Jul 2012


Description and Aim

The aim of this workshop was to work toward a coherent understanding of three approaches to effective field theory in inflation: Symmetry-breaking Universality, Wilsonian coarse graining, and Non-equilibrium QFT. Each of these approaches may provide some insight into understanding high energy physics (such as quantum gravity) from cosmological observables, and which could not be otherwise probed. This is particularly exciting given current cosmological parameters measured at the percent level, and next year’s data release of the Planck satellite is expected to improve this by an order of magnitude.  If there is an imprint of quantum gravity in today’s sky, the correct effective field theory of inflation will be the road to decipher its signature.


The workshop was roundly applauded by all participants. This was the first time all major researchers in this field were brought together at the same venue, and the result was highly rewarding. The rapid developments in both cosmological observation and theoretical understanding left many avenues to be explored,  and the organizers felt the workshop more than accomplished this goal. One highlight was a session in which three of the participants energetically discussed a technical point on the difference in their approaches. As a result of this exchange of views, a deeper understanding was formed which overturned a previous result in the literature.  This was precisely the integration of different approaches that the organizers had hoped to achieve. The workshop was also very fortunate to have a senior member of the Planck satellite team deliver a lecture on the type of data to be released, and the correct method of interpretation. Following this, an informal “survey” was taken by another speaker to predict the implications of such data. It will be soon be evident how close reality is to this prediction.  The overall workshop  was so warmly received by participants that from it emerged the organization of another, titled ”New Challenges for Early Universe Cosmologists.” It will be useful to re-visit some of the issues raised in the present workshop given the year’s developments.

Workshop Format and Comments

The format allowing plentiful discussion time proved essential for the success of the work- shop. There was a tremendous amount of participation and discussion, in fact multiple attendees commented that it had been the most “lively” workshop they had ever attended,  as well as the best organized.