Abstract:
We present a brief review of recent advances in string cosmology. Starting with the Dilaton-Moduli Cosmology (known also as the Pre Big Bang), we go on to include the effects of axion fields and address the thorny issue of the Graceful Exit in String Cosmology. This is followed by a review of density perturbations arising in string cosmology and we finish with a brief introduction to the impact moving five branes can have on the Dilaton-Moduli cosmological solutions.

Abstract:
We derive a new class of exact time dependent solutions in a warped six dimensional supergravity model. Under the assumptions we make for the form of the underlying moduli fields, we show that the only consistent time dependent solutions lead to all six dimensions evolving in time, implying the eventual decompactification or collapse of the extra dimensions. We also show how the dynamics affects the quantization of the deficit angle.

Abstract:
We investigate the evolution of scalar metric perturbations across a sudden cosmological transition, allowing for an inhomogeneous surface stress at the transition leading to a discontinuity in the local expansion rate, such as might be expected in a big crunch/big bang event. We assume that the transition occurs when some function of local matter variables reaches a critical value, and that the surface stress is also a function of local matter variables. In particular we consider the case of a single scalar field and show that a necessary condition for the surface stress tensor to be perturbed at the transition is the presence of a non-zero intrinsic entropy perturbation of the scalar field. We present the matching conditions in terms of gauge-invariant variables assuming a sudden transition to a fluid-dominated universe with barotropic equation of state. For adiabatic perturbations the comoving curvature perturbation is continuous at the transition, while the Newtonian potential may be discontinuous if there is a discontinuity in the background Hubble expansion.

Abstract:
Cosmic strings are predicted by many field-theory models, and may have been formed at a symmetry-breaking transition early in the history of the universe, such as that associated with grand unification. They could have important cosmological effects. Scenarios suggested by fundamental string theory or M-theory, in particular the popular idea of brane inflation, also strongly suggest the appearance of similar structures. Here we review the reasons for postulating the existence of cosmic strings or superstrings, the various possible ways in which they might be detected observationally, and the special features that might discriminate between ordinary cosmic strings and superstrings.

Abstract:
We study the classical and absolute stability of Q-balls in scalar field theories with flat potentials arising in both gravity-mediated and gauge-mediated models. We show that the associated Q-matter formed in gravity-mediated potentials can be stable against decay into their own free particles as long as the coupling constant of the nonrenormalisable term is small, and that all of the possible three-dimensional Q-ball configurations are classically stable against linear fluctuations. Three-dimensional gauge-mediated Q-balls can be absolutely stable in the "thin-wall-like" limit, but are completely unstable in the "thick-wall" limit.

Abstract:
We analyze the dynamics of a single scalar field in Friedmann-Robertson-Walker universes with spatial curvature. We obtain the fixed point solutions which are shown to be late time attractors. In particular, we determine the corresponding scalar field potentials which correspond to these stable solutions. The analysis is quite general and incorporates expanding and contracting universes with both positive and negative scalar potentials. We demonstrate that the known power law, exponential, and de-Sitter solutions are certain limits of our general set of solutions.

Abstract:
We analyze the dynamics of a Dirac-Born-Infeld (DBI) field in a cosmological set-up which includes a perfect fluid. Introducing convenient dynamical variables, we show the evolution equations form an autonomous system when the potential and the brane tension of the DBI field are arbitrary power-law or exponential functions of the DBI field. In particular we find scaling solutions can exist when powers of the field in the potential and warp-factor satisfy specific relations. A new class of fixed-point solutions are obtained corresponding to points which initially appear singular in the evolution equations, but on closer inspection are actually well defined. In all cases, we perform a phase-space analysis and obtain the late-time attractor structure of the system. Of particular note when considering cosmological perturbations in DBI inflation is a fixed-point solution where the Lorentz factor is a finite large constant and the equation of state parameter of the DBI field is $w=-1$. Since in this case the speed of sound $c_s$ becomes constant, the solution can be thought to serve as a good background to perturb about.

Abstract:
A collision of orbifold planes in eleven dimensions has been proposed as an explanation of the hot big bang. When the two planes are close to each other, the winding membranes become the lightest modes of the theory, and can be effectively described in terms of fundamental strings in a ten dimensional background. Near the brane collision, the eleven-dimensional metric is an Euclidean space times a 1+1-dimensional Milne universe. However, one may expect small perturbations to lead into a more general Kasner background. In this paper we extend the previous classical analysis of winding membranes to Kasner backgrounds, and using the Hamiltonian equations, solve for the wave function of loops with circular symmetry. The evolution across the singularity is regular, and explained in terms of the excitement of higher oscillation modes. We also show there is finite particle production and unitarity is preserved.

Abstract:
We construct cosmological solutions of four-dimensional effective heterotic M-theory with a moving five-brane and evolving dilaton and T modulus. It is shown that the five-brane generates a transition between two asymptotic rolling-radii solutions. Moreover, the five-brane motion always drives the solutions towards strong coupling asymptotically. We present an explicit example of a negative-time branch solution which ends in a brane collision accompanied by a small-instanton transition. The five-dimensional origin of some of our solutions is also discussed.

Abstract:
We review the existence, formation and properties of cosmic strings in string theory, the wide variety of observational techniques that are being employed to detect them, and the constraints that current observations impose on string theory models.