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“Multiverse” subject of public lecture at Vanderbilt

by Mar. 17, 2011, 11:13 AM

MIT cosmologist Alan Guth (Courtesy of Alan Guth)
MIT cosmologist Alan Guth (Courtesy of Alan Guth)

Today, one of the cornerstones of modern cosmology is the idea that the universe expanded dramatically for a period of time shortly after its birth in the Big Bang. Alan Guth, a well-known cosmologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will discuss one of the broader implications of the theory: eternal inflation has created a “multiverse” that consists of a series of “pocket universes” with different physical properties.

The free public lecture will be held on Thursday, March 24, at 4 p.m. in Room 4327 in the Stevenson Center on the Vanderbilt campus. It will be preceded by a reception at 3:30 p.m. in Room 6333 in Stevenson Center.

Guth is this year’s guest speaker in the Slack lecture series sponsored by the Department of Physics. Guth, who is the Victor F. Weisskopf Professor of Physics at MIT, applies theoretical particle physics to the early universe. He coined the term inflation to describe the period of early expansion and was one of the architects of the inflationary model of the universe. In addition to authoring more than 70 scientific articles, he wrote the popular book on cosmology The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins in 1998.

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