Open Questions: Cosmic Inflation

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See also: Quantum cosmology -- Cosmic strings -- Higgs physics -- Beyond the standard model -- Cosmological models

Introduction

What started inflation?

What stopped inflation?

Observational tests of inflation

Topological defects

Inflation and the multiverse

Eternal inflation


Recommended references: Web sites

Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

Recommended references: Books

Introduction



Recommended references: Web sites

Site indexes


Sites with general resources

Alan H. Guth
Personal Web page. Contains general and biographical information.
Andrei Linde
Personal Web page with some professional information, including references to Linde's work on the self-reproducing inflationary universe. There are also links to a number of images and animations that help visualize inflation.


Surveys, overviews, tutorials

Cosmic inflation
Article from Wikipedia.
Inflation
Part of the Cambridge Cosmology site. Provides explanations of the inflationary paradigm, how inflation addresses problems with the standard big bang model, various inflationary scenarios and predictions, and the effect of inflation on large scale structure of the universe.
What is the Inflation Theory?
Overview from the Microwave Anisotropy Probe site.
The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation
Overview from the Microwave Anisotropy Probe site.
Fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background
Overview from the Microwave Anisotropy Probe site.
Inflation for Beginners
Good elementary intoduction to inflation, by John Gribbin.
Cosmic Inflation
Good technical overview, part of elementary cosmology course by David Bennett.
Eternal Inflation: Successes and Questions
Slide presentation given by Alan Guth at the 2001: A Spacetime Odyssey conference. Nice outline by the inventor of inflationary cosmology.
Inflation and string cosmology
Slide presentation given by Andrei Linde at the 2001: A Spacetime Odyssey conference. Discusses pros and cons of different models.
What is Inflation?
Brief article by Chet Nieter. Part of a small group of pages on Inflationary Cosmology and Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking.
The Big Bang and Chaotic Inflation
Good overview by Rémy Indebetouw
Inflationary Cosmology and the Vacuum Potential
Very good overview by Itay Sharon.
Sounds of the universe confirm big bang
April 2001 news article in Science News about results of the DASI experiment that find evidence of cosmic inflation in the cosmic microwave background.
The Self-reproducing Inflationary Universe
March 1998 article (in PDF format) by Andrei Linde from a special issue of Scientific American. Discusses how multiple universes may be formed in the process which produces inflation.
A Golden Age of Cosmology
Broad overview article from Edge online magazine, by Alan Guth, who (naturally) focuses especially on inflation.
Inflation and the New Era of High-Precision Cosmology
2002 survey article by Alan Guth, in PDF format. A short but authoritative overview of the subject.


Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

The Great Cosmic Roller-Coaster Ride
Cliff Burgess; Fernando Quevedo
Scientific American, October 2007
Cosmic Inflation Comes of Age
Steve Nadis
Astronomy, April 2002, pp. 28-32
Inflation solved a number of problems with the early big bang model, and in the 23 years since the idea originated, all observable evidence is still consistent with it. But there is still no way to distinguish among a number of models that attempt to explain how inflation started or stopped. [Five very short articles following the main article discuss some of the models and related topics.]
Guth's Grand Guess
Brad Lemley
Discover, April 2002, pp. 32-39
The theory of cosmic inflation that occurred to Alan Guth in 1979, was originally just a wild guess of the sort that theoretical physicists play with all the time. Yet it has met every observational challenge offered. It also leads to asking questions such as what determines the fundamental laws of physics and whether the universe as we know it is unique.
Inflation in a Low-Density Universe
Martin A. Bucher, David N. Spergel
Scientific American, January 1999, pp. 62-69
The standard inflationary hypothesis cannot explain accelerating cosmic expansion. Necessary modifications of the hypothesis are considered.
Inflating the Cosmos
Timothy Ferris
Astronomy, July 1997, pp. 38-43
Alan Guth's theory of inflation solved a variety of problems in the original big bang theory. Continuing refinements of the theory solve additional problems.
The Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe
Andrei Linde
Scientific American, November 1994, pp. 48-55
Detailed investigation of the inflationary model of the Big Bang suggests that an unlimited number of independent universes, rather than just one, could form continuously. New universes could branch from those already existing in a fractal-like pattern.
Particle Physics and Inflationary Cosmology
Andrei Linde
Physics Today, September 1987, pp. 61-68
The theories of cosmic inflation and unification of fundamental forces have shown the close interdependence of comomology and particle physics. Jointly they suggest that the big bang may not have been a single event but an ongoing process, in which mini-universes form continuously. The low-energy physics and even the dimensionality of each such universe could vary.
The Inflationary Universe
Alan H. Guth; Paul J. Steinhardt
Scientiric American, May 1984, pp. 116-128
The inflationary theory proposes that the observable universe is just a tiny portion of space which underwent exponential expansion in the first instant after the big bang. The theory is based on grand unified theories of particle physics and can resolve several cosmological puzzles.


Recommended references: Books

Alan H. Guth - The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins
Addison Wesley, 1997
Guth originated the idea of inflation as a needed improvement to the Big Bang theory. His book deals with most of cosmology as well as inflation itself. It also covers the relevant parts of high energy physics and such speculative ideas as wormholes, multiple universes, and the mechanism of creating a universe in the laboratory.

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