Alan Guth at the Institute of Physics
By Hamish Johnston
Have you ever wondered what went on in the universe when it was just 10-35 s old — and how this could be related to our special pocket in the multiverse?
If so, you might want to watch a video of the 2009 Newton lecture, which is now available on the Institute of Physics (IOP) website.
The lecture was given in London on 14 October by Alan Guth, who was in town to receive the IOP’s Isaac Newton Medal for his pioneering work on cosmic inflation — a theory that changed the way we think of the early universe.
Entitled “Inflationary Cosmology: Is Our Universe Part of a Multiverse?”, Guth’s talk lasts about one hour. He starts with an explanation of how inflation provides a “simple and natural” explanation for how the universe became what it is today.
He then moves on to dark energy and explains how its discovery has further improved our understanding of the evolution of the universe — but brings with it the “nightmare” of a vacuum energy that is much smaller than that predicted by quantum mechanics.
But inflation offers a way of avoiding this nightmare in a scenario that involves a multiverse of pocket universes, string theory and the anthropic principle…but you’ll have to watch the lecture to find out how!