Two Tales of the Early Universe
January 19, 2012
Abstract: Our newly-sharp picture of cosmological evolution has shown our present description of physics is incomplete. Dark matter, dark energy, baryogenesis, and the origin of the Universe require new ideas at the frontier of physics. I discuss two ideas from this early-universe frontier. I first describe a new theory, hylogenesis, of the simultaneous formation of dark matter and baryon number in the early Universe. Remarkably, this model predicts a spectacular new channel, induced nucleon decay, for in the direct detection of dark matter. Dark matter scattering from ordinary matter may convert baryons into mesons and be observed in nucleon-decay search experiments. Changing gears, I then discuss new imprints of the origin of the Universe in the CMB. If our observable Universe originated from a bubble-nucleation event in a parent false vacuum it may have collided with another bubble-universe. Such a collision induces an unusually symmetric perturbation, a cosmic wake, which affects our Hubble volume and imprints distinctive and potentially observable temperature and polarization signals in the CMB. I’ll discuss the first calculation of cosmic wake evolution, and prospects for detecting them with Planck or other CMB missions.