The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins

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9780099959502: The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins

This classic Big Bang text neatly describes what happened after the bang. Yet, until recently, particle physicists and cosmologists were stuck on many questions that the Big Bang Theory still couldn't answer, primarily: If matter can neither be created nor destroyed, how could so much matter arise from nothing at all? Alan Guth's Inflationary Universe Theory answers these vexing questions. When NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer satellite measured the non-uniformities of the cosmic background radiation for the first time in 1992, the patterns agreed exquisitely with the theory's predictions.

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Just about everyone in the scientific community accepts the theory that our universe began in a "big bang"--but that theory leaves numerous unanswered questions about why the cosmos formed in just the manner we observe today. In The Inflationary Universe, physicist Alan Guth recounts his and others' struggle to expound a theory that could plug the gaps. The outcome is a theory of "inflation" that postulates that the universe underwent an incomprehensibly large expansion in the first fraction of a microsecond of its existence. With the perspective that only a first-person account could provide, The Inflationary Universe sheds light on a leading theory in humankind's continuing quest to understand the universe we live in.

About the Author:

Alan Guth, after receiving his doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, held positions at Princeton University, Columbia, Cornell and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. He is now the V. F. Weisskopf Professor of Physics at MIT. He has been elected to the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has been awarded the Eddington Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in London.

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