Alan Harvey Guth is an American theoretical physicist and cosmologist. . Guth realized from his theory that the reason the universe appears to be flat was that it was fantastically big, just the same way the. According to the inflationary universe scenario the universe in the very early stages of . The main idea of the inflationary universe scenario, suggested by Guth. The Inflationary Universe has ratings and 30 reviews. This is the compelling, first-hand account of Alan Guth’s paradigm-breaking discovery of the origins.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Paperbackpages. Published March 18th by Basic Books first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about The Inflationary Universeplease sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The Inflationary Universe. Lists with This Book. Jul 21, Manny rated it liked it Shelves: July ] Yesterday evening, I was sitting with the local knitting group and reading the last few pages of Guth’s book.

It’s why I gave up cosmology and went into nuclear physics! How else are you going to make sense of the observational data? In fact, they didn’t know. I wondered if they inflaionary that would be a typical reaction, were Ths to ask other professional scientists. Would everyone say they didn’t know, unless the question concerned the tiny area where they were an acknowledged world-class expert? A thought about it. So, ah, to summarise, no one except a handful of experts understands our current theories about the origins infationary the universe well enough to say whether they make sense, but Alan Guth, the guy who kicked it off, has written a book about how we got here.

I personally found it very helpful and feel I grasp the idea of “inflation” far better than I did a week ago: Though I still have real trouble believing this stuff; guthh seems impossibly speculative, even if it does “explain” important things, in particular the flatness and uniformity of the universe, and the slight unevenness in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation CMBR that later turned into galaxies.

Guth describes his key insight from and the developments following on from it. You project niflationary history of the universe backwards in time, and it gets hotter and denser the further back you go. But then, winding the clock forwards uniferse, the universe cools down, and they split up into the three forces we see today.

In the process of doing so, there could have been an intermediate state, a inflationaey vacuum”, where the universe was filled with the enormous energy released inflationarh the splitting up of the three forces.

This energy would have caused it to expand exponentially, making it uniform and flat; quantum fluctuations would account for the minor unevennesses we have found in the CMBR. This inflationqry indeed the standard story, but I am shocked to univwrse how many assumptions you need in order to make it work. There is a bunch of “Grand Unified Theories” explaining how the three forces can be unified into one, but the energies needed to test them are over a billion times higher than anything we can create in our current accelerators.


The potential curve which determines how the energy level falls during the splitting of the forces needs to have a very specific shape in order to get results that match the data. Originally, the idea was that the field mediating the energy was going to be the Higgs field, which we know something about; but in fact the Higgs field turns out not to have the right properties, so a new field was required.

By the way, this seems to be ugth the Higgs is often called “the God Particle”; people thought for a while that it had created the universe, but they later changed their minds. The universe has inflatoinary be locally flat enough before inflation started, which involves some kind of theory of quantum gravity.

All these theories are speculative. I can’t help being reminded of medieval cosmologies. Back then, astronomers tweaked systems of cycles and epicycles to make them fit the observed notions of the planets.

Now, they tweak the potential curves of the inflaton field to make it fit the patterns found in the CMBR. No one had ever seen a crystal sphere, and no one has ever seen an inflaton; perhaps they are equally mythical.

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

But careful analysis of the crystal spheres eventually produced better theories, and I’m guessing the same thing will happen here, given time. Why inflatiohary there never a Newton around when you need one?

It certainly seems to me that the result from Seeliger quoted by Norton completely invalidates Guth’s argument, and in fact leaves him looking rather silly. But see if you agree. View all 72 comments. Jul 03, Erin O’Quinn rated it it was amazing.

Alan Guth – Important Scientists – The Physics of the Universe

In a nutshell, it is the time–billionths of a second in duration–when the first infinitesimal particle exploded and caused the entire universe to be created.

Almost overnight, Guth himself, like the universe he postulated, exploded from an unknown grad student to one of the superstars of astrophysics. But Guth took the theory a step further. He postulated that not only did the universe inflatilnary in one incomprehensible fraction of a second–but the entire universe as it is now was created in that same time frame. He writes in an engaging, non-scientific style meant to reach out and grab readers such as I, people who have a hazy grasp of physics but who want a better notion of how alzn universe came to be.

I would not be surprised if he were soon awarded a Nobel in Physics. Read this book, and then sing along with Barenaked Ladies Mar 18, G.

Reader rated it liked it. I’ve been trying to call Alan all day to congratulate him, but his phone seems to be permanently busy. Oh well, this will have to do. Alan, I’m big enough to admit you were right and I was wrong, and just let me know when you want that dinner at the Fat Duck. Aug 20, Tomislav rated it it was amazing Shelves: This book is presented chronologically, following his and his colleagues’ work through problems and dead ends, and occasionally even events from his personal life.


Even though it is math-less, it conveys the conceptual trade-offs and reasoning, beyond a mere description of the resulting theory to be taken on guuth faith. As an engineer with detailed knowledge Alan Guth is not a science popularizer like Carl Sagan or Neil DeGrasse Tyson, but the actual infllationary who originated Inflation cosmology. As an engineer with detailed knowledge of physics only in those certain spots relevant to my career, I found this both challenging and rewarding to read, in my drive to broaden.

Guth does not present all his work as a tthe deal in all particulars infltaionary although inflation certainly does seem necessary to address problems in the prior Big Bang model compatibility with GUTs, horizon problem, flatness problem, etc. With the trade-off awareness gained, some brief summaries available online have a place to fit in.

The reintroduction of cosmological constants to make timelines work out seems troubling to me. But as I have still not been through the math, and the math speculations precede observational data, I cannot gith to understand inflatonary. My notes per chapter are below.

Hubble redshift ; mistaken age of universe. Heavier elements came from stars, later. GUTs predict strengths of all known particle interactions. Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking are mechanisms for loss of high energy symmetry at lower energy. Minimum energy density on maps of multiple Higgs fields.

Critical chapter; needs re-read! Spontaneous symmetry breaking is set at various Higgs values along the vacuum ring, arbitrarily during cooling after Big Bang. If changed, particle interactions would break out differently. Vacuum energy in three-Higgs-field model.


Decay ultimately through quantum tunneling. False vacuum leads to temp reversal of certain properties, such as gravitation. No percolation of bubbles resolving to infinite connectivity. Guth found no solution. Linde’s “New Inflation” single-bubble universe, using novel Higgs fields. Steinhardt used spinodal decomposition for phase transition without bubbles. Quantum perturbations, if the Higgs field energy density graph is further flattened.

But then incompatible with best GUT. A newly defined field — Inflaton. Soup could be eternal. Evidence will not be found in space-time of our own pocket universe. Quantum tunneling in super high energy of inflation. With inflation, small size may inf,ationary be an objection. Epilogue – book released Aug 05, Jaime Olmos rated it really liked it Shelves: This is more anecdotal than a rigorous scientific review Fun and instructional read I occasionally would see saw Dr.

I however knew relatively well his colleague Dr. I am a lot more interested in QFT checkout Huang’s book! Guth relates in his book how he first had co This is more anecdotal than a rigorous scientific review Guth relates in his book how he first had collaborated with Dr.