## Natural inflation: consistency with cosmic microwave background observations of Planck and BICEP2

Natural inflation is a good fit to all cosmic microwave background (CMB) data and may be the correct description of an early inflationary expansion of the Universe. The large angular scale CMB polarization experiment BICEP2 has announced a major discovery, which can be explained as the gravitational wave signature of inflation, at a level that matches predictions by natural inflation models. The natural inflation (NI) potential is theoretically exceptionally well motivated in that it is naturally flat due to shift symmetries, and in the simplest version takes the form V(φ) = Λ{sup 4} [1 ± cos(Nφ/f)]. A tensor-to-scalar ratio r > 0.1 as seen by BICEP2 requiresmore »