Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Physics

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, 77 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Daniel Robbins

Committee Members

Oleg Lunin, Kevin Knuth


Cosmology, High Energy Physics, Inflation, Probability Distributions, String Theory, Scalar field theory, Superstring theories

Subject Categories

Numerical Analysis and Scientific Computing | Other Physics | Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics


In the study of cosmological inflation, string theory and supersymmetry have motivated a wide range of possible inflationary models. These models can be parameterized by a scalar potential V, which is a function of N scalar fields, and determines cosmological parameters such as the vacuum stability and energy density. In principle, we can determine V through high energy physics, such as string theory. In practice, though we may not know the details of V we might have clues about a distribution of plausible V’s, which we can build statistics on to further analyze. The purpose of this thesis defense is to analyze toy models ofprobability distributions of the scalar potential V. Given such a potential, there are many questions one can consider, such as "where is its minimum and what is its value there?", "how many critical points of each type does it have?", as well as some more subtle questions like "how big is the basin of attraction for each local minimum?", "what kind of inflationary trajectories can we have?", and "how likely are relative tunneling events between minima?". Through exploring the basic framework of some plausible space of V’s, by looking at some toy models of probability distributions of potentials, one can determine the expected values of answers to some of these questions.