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Special Report

Cosmic Inflation and Big Bang Ripples

The imprint of gravitational waves created shortly after the big bang may offer direct evidence for inflation theory, according to a discovery by the BICEP2 experiment at the South Pole

  • March 17, 2014

The Man Who Put the "Big" in "Big Bang": Alan Guth on Inflation

On the night of December 6, 1979--32 years ago today--Alan Guth had the “spectacular realization” that would soon turn cosmology on its head. He imagined a mind-bogglingly brief event, at the very beginning of the big bang, during which the entire universe expanded exponentially, going from microscopic to cosmic size.

December 6, 2011 — Davide Castelvecchi

Echoes from the Big Bang

Scientists may soon glimpse the universe's beginnings by studying the subtle ripples made by gravitational waves

January 1, 2001 — Marc Kamionkowski and Robert R. Caldwell

The Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe

Recent versions of the inflationary scenario describe the universe as a self-generating fractal that sprouts other inflationary universes

November 1, 1994 — Andrei Linde

The Inflationary Universe

A new theory of cosmology suggests that the observable universe is embedded in a much larger region of space that had an extraordinary growth spurt a fraction of a second after the primordial big bang

May 1, 1984 — Alan H. Guth and Paul J. Steinhardt
Special Offer: Cosmic Inflation Archive Collection

Special Offer: Cosmic Inflation Archive Collection

Scientific American editor-in- chief Mariette DiChristina has curated this collection, featuring 3 provocative articles from Scientific American’s archive: Andrei Linde, “The Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe,” November, 1994; Paul Steinhardt, “The Inflation Debate,” April 2011, and Paul Steinhardt and Alan Guth, “The Inflationary Universe.” Only $9.99. Save 58% off the digital single issue price.

Stars of Cosmology, Part 1

In part 1 of this podcast, cosmologists Alan Guth from M.I.T., Arizona State University's Lawrence Krauss, John Carlstrom from the University of Chicago, and Fermilab's Scott Dodelson discuss the state of cosmology--and the universe's possible dismal future--at a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago on February 16th

February 18, 2009 — Steve Mirsky

Stars of Cosmology, Part 2

In part 2 of this podcast, cosmologists Alan Guth from M.I.T., Arizona State University's Lawrence Krauss, John Carlstrom from the University of Chicago, and Fermilab's Scott Dodelson take reporters' questions at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago on February 16th

February 19, 2009 — Steve Mirsky

Shocked Physicist Learns His Big Bang Theory Is True [Video]

Few people were as thrilled with the big physics news today as physicist Andrei Linde. One of the main authors of inflation theory--the idea that the universe expanded incredibly rapidly just after it was born in the big bang--Linde has reason to be excited.

March 17, 2014 — Clara Moskowitz

Gravitational Waves at the Beginning of Everything

Scientists from the Center for Astrophysics have found evidence of gravitational waves created mere moments after the dawn of the universe. These waves were created in a period of rapid expansion called cosmic inflation. This new evidence could prove the definitive confirmation of the inflation theory. It seems that finally, scientists can claim to understand the goings on at the beginning of everything. A Nature Video production.

March 18, 2014
5 Essential Facts about Gravitational Waves from the Big Bang - The Countdown #44

5 Essential Facts about Gravitational Waves from the Big Bang - The Countdown #44

On March 17th, physicists with the BICEP2 experiment announced they had detected the remnant of gravitational waves in the cosmic microwave background, the light left over from the big bang. Although still needing confirmation, the discovery lends weight to the idea that the early universe underwent rapid expansion.

Video credits - writer/host: Sophie Bushwick, production assistant: Geoffrey Giller, editor: Kathryn Free, producer: Eric R. Olson

March 20, 2014

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