Cosmology and broken discrete symmetry

John Preskill, Sandip P. Trivedi, Frank Wilczek, Mark B. Wise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


It is argued that under various circumstances spontaneously broken discrete symmetry, which is commonly thought to lead to grave cosmological problems, need not do so. A particularly interesting example is the two-doublet version of the standard model. This extended model avoids unacceptable flavor-changing neutral currents in a natural way only if an appropriate discrete symmetry is postulated. Here it is shown that this discrete symmetry is anomalous. As a result, when it is spontaneously broken it does not produce stable domain walls (which would be problematic for cosmology). Instead an interesting cosmological scenario results, which incorporates substantial deviations from thermal equilibrium at the QCD scale. If axions are used to address the strong CP problem, then the analysis is altered. Depending on the Peccei-Quinn charge assignments, domain walls may be either stable or nonexistent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-220
Number of pages14
JournalNuclear Physics, Section B
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 30 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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