Dr. Mustafa Amin
University of Cambridge, UK
Inflation, a period of accelerated expansion in the very early universe, provides a mechanism for generating density perturbations necessary for the formation of structure. First, I will review what we have learned about this fascinating period from current observations. Thereafter, I will concentrate on the end of inflation. Our understanding of the universe between the end of inflation and production of light elements is very incomplete. How did inflation end? What did the universe look like at the end of inflation? I will discuss different end of inflation scenarios and their possible observational consequences. I will concentrate on a particular case: the fragmentation of the inflaton into localized, long-lived excitations of the inflaton field (oscillons), which for a period, can end up dominating the energy density of the universe.