Abhay Ashtekar

Abhay Ashtekar

Penn State University

Quantum Gravity in the sky? Interplay between fundamental theory and Observations

Thanks to the spectacular observational advances since the 1990s, a
`standard model’ of the early universe has now emerged. However, since it
is based on quantum field theory in curved space-times, it is not
applicable in the Planck regime. Using techniques from loop quantum
gravity, the theory can be extended over the 12 orders of magnitude in
density and curvature from the onset of inflation all the way back to the
Planck regime, providing us with a possible completion of the standard
model. Contrary to a wide-spread belief, the resulting pre-inflationary
dynamics can have observational consequences. Thus, there is now an an
interesting interplay between fundamental theory and observations. The
talk will provide a broad overview of these results and provide the
background material for Ivan Agullo’s talk that will discuss further
phenomenological consequences of loop quantum cosmology.