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What if cosmic inflation is wrong?

18 May 2017, 14:01 UTC
What if cosmic inflation is wrong? NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

All scientific ideas, no matter how accepted or widespread they are, are susceptible to being overturned. For all the successes any idea may have, it only takes one experiment or observation to falsify it, invalidate it, or necessitate that it be revised. Beyond that, every scientific idea or model has a limitation to its range of validity: Newtonian mechanics breaks down close to the speed of light; General Relativity breaks down at singularities; evolution breaks down when you reach the origin of life. Even the Big Bang has its limitations, as there’s only so far back we can extrapolate the hot, dense, expanding state that gave rise to what we see today. Since 1980, the leading idea for describing what came before it has been cosmic inflation, for many compelling reasons. But recently, a spate of public statements has shown a deeper controversy:In February, a group of theorists, including one of inflation’s co-founders, claimed that inflation had failed.The mainstream group of inflationary cosmologists, including inflation’s inventor, Alan Guth, wrote a rebuttal.This prompted the original group to dig in further, denouncing the rebuttal.And earlier this week, a major publication and one of the rebuttal’s co-signers highlighted and gave their perspective on ...

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