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Tuesday 10th of May, 2022

The Degree of Fine-Tuning in our Universe -- and Others

(abridged) Both fundamental constants that describe the laws of physics and cosmological parameters that determine the cosmic properties must fall within a range of values in order for the universe to develop astrophysical structures and ultimately support life. This paper reviews current constraints on these quantities. The standard model of particle physics contains both coupling constants and particle masses, and the allowed ranges of these parameters are discussed first. We then consider cosmological parameters, including the total energy density, the vacuum energy density, the baryon-to-photon ratio, the dark matter contribution, and the amplitude of primordial density fluctuations. These quantities are constrained by the requirements that the universe lives for a long time, emerges from the BBN epoch with an acceptable chemical composition, and can successfully produce galaxies. On smaller scales, stars and planets must be able to form and function. The stars must have sufficiently long lifetimes and hot surface temperatures. The planets must be massive enough to maintain an atmosphere, small enough to remain non-degenerate, and contain enough particles to support a complex biosphere. These requirements place constraints on the gravitational constant, the fine structure constant, and composite parameters that specify nuclear reaction rates. We consider specific instances of possible fine-tuning in stars, including the triple alpha reaction that produces carbon, as well as the effects of unstable deuterium and stable diprotons. For all of these issues, viable universes exist over a range of parameter space, which is delineated herein. Finally, for universes with significantly different parameters, new types of astrophysical processes can generate energy and support habitability.
Comments: 212 pages, 36 figures, accepted for publication in Physics Reports
Subjects: Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (astro-ph.CO); High Energy Physics - Phenomenology (hep-ph); High Energy Physics - Theory (hep-th)
Cite as: arXiv:1902.03928 [astro-ph.CO]
  (or arXiv:1902.03928v1 [astro-ph.CO] for this version)
Related DOI:

Speaker: Mikael Chala