### Speaker

### Description

Classical scale invariance represents a promising framework for model building beyond the Standard Model. However, once coupled to gravity, any scale-invariant microscopic model requires an explanation for the origin of the Planck scale. In this talk, I will present a minimal example for such a mechanism and show how the Planck mass can be dynamically generated in a strongly coupled gauge sector. I will consider the case of hidden SU(N) gauge interactions that link the Planck scale to the condensation of a scalar bilinear operator that is nonminimally coupled to curvature. The effective theory at energies below the Planck mass contains two scalar fields: the pseudo-Nambu-Goldstone boson of spontaneously broken scale invariance (the dilaton) and a gravitational scalar degree of freedom that originates from the R^2 term in the effective action (the scalaron). I will discuss the effective potential for the coupled dilaton-scalaron system at one-loop order and demonstrate that it can be used to successfully realize a stage of slow-roll inflation in the early Universe. Remarkably enough, our predictions for the primordial scalar and tensor power spectra interpolate between those of standard R^2 inflation and linear chaotic inflation. For comparatively small gravitational couplings, one thus obtains a spectral index n_s ~= 0.97 and a tensor-to-scalar ratio as large as r ~= 0.08.