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Breaking inflation with inhomogeneous initial conditions

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Inflation is proposed as a means of explaining why the Universe is currently so homogeneous on larger scales, solving both the horizon and flatness problems in early universe cosmology. However, if inflation itself requires homogeneous conditions to get started, then inflation is not a solution to the horizon problem. Most work up until now has focussed on a dynamical systems approach to classifying the stability of inflationary models, but recently Numerical Relativity (NR) has been used to simulate the actual evolution of the inflaton field, leading to new insights. I will describe a recent work (https://arxiv.org/abs/1608.04408) in which we used NR to consider the robustness of generic small and large field inflationary models to initial inhomogeneities in the inflaton field and the extrinsic curvature of the metric.