the Inflaton Field

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the Inflaton Field

In: Physics

I only have a UG Physics degree, but I’ll take a shot. Very early in the big bang, there was an exceptionally short period of extreme expansion of the universe called the inflationary epoc. The inflaton field is a proposed theory for why this happened, and there is also some proposals that the Higgs field itself was the inflaton field, but these are both unproven theories. The main theory is that the inflaton field in the early universe was in a “false vaccum” where the vaccum energy was high enough to create inflatons which drove the expansion.

A false vaccum is kind of like a bowl on a ramp: a marble in the bowl will stay in the bowl until it gets a strong enough perturbation, at which point it’ll fall down the ramp onto the ground where it will stay — the true vaccum. Once the energy fell to the true vaccum, the inflationary epic ended, and the inflatons decayed into “normal” particles.

The inflationary epoc is used to explain the fact the universe is mostly the same everywhere, and the cosmic microwave background is mostly uniform, among other cosmological phenomenon.