Inflation, Quantum Gravity, and the Weak Gravity Conjecture



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PIRSA Number: 
16100053

Abstract

Lack of fine tuning in effective field theory does not ensure that a particular scenario is natural or even realizable in a UV complete theory of quantum gravity. Large field axion inflation appears natural from the effective field theory perspective, but I argue that it is tuned from a quantum gravity perspective. The argument is based on the Weak Gravity Conjecture (WGC), a conjectural universal feature of quantum gravity that is present in all known string theory examples. In the process, I highlight recent progress in understanding the WGC and related conjectures about the charged spectrum of quantum gravity and discuss other potential applications, both formal and phenomenological.