Although the Universe is expanding in a fashion that backtracks to a single point, it is evident that this conclusion is fallacious and merely signals the break down of physics as we currently understand it. In this project we address this double-sided question---"where did the Universe come from?" and "what lies beyond relativity, and our understanding of the foundations of physics?"---using the framework of varying speed of light (VSL) theories. These sre possibly the most aggressive setup for questioning the validity of current standard physics, and so are ideally positioned to glean from the challenges of the "Big Bang" moment all the lessons they provide on fundamental physics. The fact that VSL theories make contact with the puzzle of quantum gravity suggests that the question "What Banged?" might ultimately be a piece of the quantum gravity conundrum.
We will develop work along 2 avenues: on the phenomenological front we propose to subject existing VSL models to recent observational constraints (e.g. tilt and bispectrum of density fluctuations, gravity waves, etc) sharpening them up in the light of the Planck satellite results. Along a complementary line we will investigate what the adjustments cued in by these observations mean in terms of foundational issues, with particular attention to breaking of Lorentz symmetry, deformed dispersion relations and the dimensionality of space-time in the ultra-violet.
We expect a large number of papers to come out of this project. They should bring to task the hegemony of the inflationary paradigm, which in itself could promote radical change in the currently very conformist community of cosmologists. Furthermore they are likely to shed light on the origin of our universe and how this might provide radically new insights into quantum gravity. Even if only one of these hopes is realized we will have changed the landscape of cosmology and fundamental physics for ever.