Tag: Scientific American



Conversations Beyond Science and Religion – Beyond the Inflationary Big Bang

The universe began with the Big Bang, right? But how did this chaotic, random event lead to an ordered, balanced universe? Recognizing this problem, in the 1980′s, cosmologists developed a new theory called the inflationary Big Bang. This new model called for the early universe to inflate at super-warp speed in the blink of an eye; if this occurred, cosmologists said, it would be possible for the Big Bang to have produced the universe we live in without needing finely-tuned initial conditions. So the inflationary Big Bang made its way into college textbooks, television documentaries, and popular science books. Professor Paul Steinhardt, of Princeton University,...

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Beyond the Inflationary Big Bang

The answer most people would likely give to the question of how the universe began is, the “Big Bang.”  But it’s a fair guess that this same group of people do not know what the Big Bang is, or that it has in fact been replaced by another model known as the inflationary Big Bang. The interesting part of this story is why cosmologists decided to revise the standard Big Bang model in the first place. It turns out that the original Big Bang possessed a number of features that deeply perplexed scientific theorists.   Two of these features are the smoothness problem and the flatness problem.   Without getting into...

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