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Effective Field Theory in Inflation

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Though the observed CMB is at very low energy, it encodes ultra high-energy physics in spatial variations of the photon temperature and polarization fluctuations. This effect is believed to be dominated by the initial quantum state of the Universe. I will describe the first theoretical tools by which to construct such a state from fundamental physics. There are three specific observational effects this initial state will produce: a ringing signal in the power spectrum of quantum field fluctuations, an enfolded type of non-Gaussian fluctuations, and a calculable primordial gravitational wave background. We may soon be able to compare these predictions against experiment, allowing one to rule out classes of quantum gravity models. Now is the critical time to undertake such investigations, with a number of ongoing and planned experiments such as WMAP, Planck, and CMBPol poised to collect a wealth of precision data.