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Quantum decay of false vacuum states via the nucleation of bubbles may 
have played an important role in the early history of our Universe.  For 
example, in multiverse models that utilize false vacuum eternal 
inflation, the Big Bang of our observable Universe corresponds to one of 
these bubble nucleation events.  Further, our observable Universe may 
have undergone a series of symmetry-breaking first-order phase 
transitions as it cooled, which may have produced a remnant background 
of gravitational waves.

I will present results from a new real-time picture of false vacuum 
decay which, in contrast to existing semiclassical techniques, does not 
rely on classically forbidden tunneling paths.  Lattice simulations are 
used to evolve initial realizations of fluctuations around the false 
vacuum forward in time via the classical equations of motion.  In these 
simulations, we observe the false vacuum decay via the formation and 
subsequent expansion and coalescence of true vacuum bubbles.  By 
sampling initial field realizations, we build up ensembles of these 
decay histories and empirically determine the bubble nucleation rate.  
The rates agree well with standard Euclidean techniques, which cannot 
provide a time-dependent description of the decay.  Some novel 
applications of our new approach include investigation of bubble-bubble 
correlation functions, decay of time-evolving metastable states, decay 
of non-vacuum initial states, and the regime of rapid decays.

Collection/Series: 
Event Type: 
Seminar
Scientific Area(s): 
Speaker(s): 
Event Date: 
Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - 14:00 to 15:30
Location: 
Bob Room
Room #: 
405