Simultaneously to the BICEP2 announcement, a theoretical work has been given media coverage : the paper « Higgs inflation at the critical point », by Fedor Bezrukov and Mikhail Shaposhnikov, arXiv:1403.6078, suggesting that the Brout - Englert - Higgs (BEH) field can lead cosmic inflation (Higgs inflation). The idea of identifying the BEH boson with the inflaton was already suggested by the same authors in October 2007 (« The Standard Model Higgs boson as the inflaton », arXiv:0710.3755)
But are there real evidences for cosmic inflation?
COSMOLOGY, PARTICLE PHYSICS, INSTITUTIONS
There is a basic difference between Cosmology and Particle Physics at accelerators. Particle Physics experiments can in principle directly test all relevant theories in their energy domain. This has in particular been the case of the standard model, including the existence of the BHE boson recently found at CERN. But it is impossible to reproduce the Big Bang in a laboratory. In spite of this obvious fundamental difference, there has been growing pressure in the recent period to impose a standard cosmological model without having studied possible alternative approaches. The collective quest for funding and jobs seems to have plaid a significant role in this evolution.
Cosmology is nowadays a very important field of scientific knowledge. Precisely for this reason, it should avoid dogmatism, scientific « party lines » and « mainstream » lobbying. Relevant missions and experiments should be financed without requiring that they immediately test the validity of an existing consensual theory. Data analyses should not be « oriented » by a priori theoretical prejudices, and institutional statements should be cautious.
Unfortunately, the institutional propaganda just after the March 17 announcement of the BICEP2 results (arXiv:1403.3985v1) was quite disappointing from this point of view. For instance :
- The Stanford University wrote (March 17) « New evidence from space supports Stanford physicist's theory of how universe began », and exhibited the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZlfIVEy_YOA
- CALTECH wrote on March 17 « BICEP2 Discovers First Direct Evidence of Inflation and Primordial Gravitational Waves », and simultaneously the Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced « NASA Technology Views Birth of the Universe »
- The Harvard University issued a March 17 release entitled « First Direct Evidence of Cosmic Inflation »
- In Europe, the April 30 CERN Courier published an article entitled « BICEP2 finds evidence of cosmic inflation »
To justify this premature and finally wrong publicity, the director general of CERN Rolf Heuer said to Nature News (« Physicists defend Big Bang wave announcement », 9 July 2014) « I think it’s important to give it at the same time to the scientific community as to the general public ». But the real problem is the content of what was written, posted and given to the press.
Not only such strong institutional statements were put forward without waiting for a scientific debate on the experimental and phenomenological side of the results announced by BICEP2, but the theoretical interpretation of a possible primordial B-mode signal in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background radiation was equally unilateral as pointed out in my notes :
« BICEP2, CMB B-modes And Spinorial Space-time »
« BICEP2, cosmic inflation, pre-Big Bang, SST, galactic effects... »
« BICEP2 Data, CMB B-modes, Inflation, Alternative Cosmologies... (I) »
« BICEP2 Data, CMB B-modes, Inflation, Alternative Cosmologies... (II) »
and in my two scientific articles reproduced in these posts.
Titles with the expression « possible evidence » instead of « evidence » would have been acceptable, and similarly for the content of the releases.
What, then, about other claimed evidences for inflation? Actually, all the analyses supporting inflation just ignore possible alternative cosmologies (pre-Big Bang, new ultimate constituents of matter, new space-time geometries...). But the SST approach naturally accounts for the observed flatness and, combined with superluminal ultimate constituents of matter (superbradyons), can also explain the homogeneity and isotropy of the observable Universe. The monopole problem can be avoided if new physics plays a significant role at the Grand Unification scale.
By now, there is no evidence for the validity of Grand Unification. It seems therefore impossible to exclude the existence of significant unconventional new physics at this scale. Such a new physics can completely change the dynamics of the early Universe, as already pointed out in my ICNFP 2013 papers :
Pre-Big Bang, space-time structure, asymptotic Universe
Ultra-high energy physics and standard basic principles
Why should this new physics and this potential new cosmology be unable to explain the properties of the Universe that inflation is said to predict? This is just an example. More generally, new physics and new cosmologies have not benefited of anything like the colossal amount of work devoted to inflation since the 1980's.
I started pointing out the potentialities of alternative cosmologies in my article Cosmological Implications of a Possible Class of Particles Able to Travel Faster than Light, Proceedings of the TAUP 1995 Conference, Nucl. Phys. Proc. Suppl. 48 (1996), 131, arXiv:astro-ph/9601090. My last paper on the subject, « CMB B-modes, spinorial space-time and Pre-Big Bang (II) », mp_arc 14-60, has been reproduced in the note « BICEP2 Data, CMB B-modes, Inflation, Alternative Cosmologies... (II) » on this blog. What if standard matter actually nucleated in a pre-existing and already expanding Universe obeying more fundamental laws?
More details will be given in forthcoming posts. But the reaction (Nature News, http://www.nature.com/news/planck-telescope-peers-into-primordial-universe-1.12658) of a leading researcher of the Planck collaboration to the March 2013 Planck results (arXiv:1303.5083) appears meaningful enough. This colleague declared to Nature that the observed CMB asymmetry: « defines a preferred direction in space, which is an extremely strange result ». However, as reminded in my note « A Privileged Space Direction? Spinorial Space-time, WMAP, Planck (I) » reacting to this statement, the existence of a privileged space direction for each comoving observer is an automatic prediction of the SST. The Planck researcher just ignored alternative cosmologies