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Everything you wanted to know about inflation, but were afraid to ask

27 Oct 2014, 18:10 UTC
Everything you wanted to know about inflation, but were afraid to ask
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Well, my upcoming class is unlikely to cover everything. After all, there’s a lot we still don’t know about cosmic inflation, including whether it actually happened or not. According to some theories, the Universe expanded very rapidly right after the Big Bang, which would explain a lot of the odder features of the cosmos as […]

Cosmology observatory at the South Pole, including the South Pole Telescope (SPT) on the left and BICEP2 on the right. [Credit: Stephen Hoover/University of Chicago]Well, my upcoming class is unlikely to cover everything. After all, there’s a lot we still don’t know about cosmic inflation, including whether it actually happened or not. According to some theories, the Universe expanded very rapidly right after the Big Bang, which would explain a lot of the odder features of the cosmos as we observe them today. However, direct evidence for inflation is inherently hard to come by, and nobody has worked out a complete model for how it works. As it stands today, cosmic inflation is the worst explanation for the early Universe, except for all the others.
Inflation made the news in a big way last spring when members of the BICEP2 collaboration announced they had ...

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