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Is the inflationary Universe a scientific theory? Not anymore

6 Oct 2017, 14:01 UTC
Is the inflationary Universe a scientific theory? Not anymore
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The expanding Universe, full of galaxies and complex structure we see today, arose from a smaller, hotter, denser, more uniform state. Image credit: C. Faucher-Giguère, A. Lidz, and L. Hernquist, Science 319, 5859 (47).One of inflation’s cofounders has turned his back on the idea. But practically no one else is following him. Is he right?This article was written by Sabine Hossenfelder. Sabine is a theoretical physicist specialized in quantum gravity and high energy physics. She also freelance writes about science.“I know of no other scientist, no other theoretical physicist alive who has a clearer focus on whether our theories and ideas are relevant to the real world. And that’s always what he’s after.” -Neil Turok, on Paul SteinhardtWe are made from stretched quantum fluctuations. At least that’s cosmologists’ currently most popular explanation. According to their theory, the history of our existence began billions of years ago with a — now absent — field that propelled the universe into a phase of rapid expansion called “inflation.” When inflation ended, the field decayed and its energy was converted into radiation and particles which are still around today.Inflation was proposed more than 35 years ago, among others, by Paul Steinhardt. But Steinhardt has ...

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