Inflation is a theory that was introduced to explain how the large-scale structure of the universe was set by a period of acceleration lasting for a few instants after the big bang. This talk will discuss why this simplistic picture fails once a proper account of quantum physics and recent observations are considered. One response has been to redefine the inflationary theory in a way that immunizes it from any empirical tests. The other is to eschew inflation altogether: replace the big bang with a big bounce and develop a new approach for explaining the origin and evolution of the universe that is scientifically testable. This talk will discuss the fascinating cosmological story and its implications for science generally.
Argonne Physics Division Colloquium Schedule