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Did Planck Pop Inflation’s Big Bubble?

October 11, 2013

Did Planck Pop Inflation’s Big Bubble?

Cosmology Group post-doc Anna Ijjas is mentioned in this month’s New Scientist for her work with Paul Steinhardt on the Planck data. Unfortunately the full text of the article is behind a paywall, but if you’re looking for an interesting discussion of the controversy over inflation and Planck, you can pick it up on your local newsstand (or, of course, you can pick up a digital copy!)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 12, 2013 9:59 am

    Inflation is an idea that is troubling me since Alan Guth invented it.
    To me it has always been just one way to explain the so called “evenness” of our visible universe, the same trick that brought us another “explanation” : the Big Bang. We have to keep in mind that ALL these so called solutions that become accepted as reality are only “thoughts”.

    Until now nothing can be detected before 380.000 years after I don’t know what, and even the CMB is a reflection of our “interpretations”.

    Wilhelmus

  2. Larry Hitterdale permalink
    October 14, 2013 12:10 pm

    For philosophy of cosmology (as contrasted with cosmology itself), the interesting point is that no version of inflation and no cyclical model would be able to explain “Why this scheme of things rather than some other?” or “Why anything at all?” The more cosmology progresses, the more reason we have to disagree with Michael Shermer’s assertion in Scientific American for May, 2012, “Science closes in on why there is something rather than nothing.” Shermer was discussing two recent books, The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, and A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss. Both books appear to claim that a final explanation for existence is scientifically available, or at least in sight. The truth, however, is that the proposals discussed in this New Scientist article cannot provide that finality. Indeed, all current approaches to cosmic origins have loose ends. This means that, if some particular theory of origins is correct, we would still be puzzled by various facts that could just as well have been otherwise. Thus, for philosophical purposes we need not wait for a determination whether inflationary cosmology, cyclical cosmology, or some other theory is correct. However that may turn out, the deep questions will remain.

  3. Jerry Wigglesworth permalink
    November 30, 2013 2:08 pm

    Wilhelmus, I think evidence for the expansion of the universe and the logical implications of that expansion running in reverse as we go back in time, even if limited optically by the surface of last scattering at ~380,000 yrs post BB…is much more than an “interpretation”. By logical inference everything would eventually have been at a single point in space and time.

    Inflation does seem a bit ad hoc, though…akin to “magic” -why super luminal expansion velocity but short of apparent instantaneous action at a distance in quantum phenomenology? What determines the expansion velocity of inflation…or the properties of the inflaton field other than physical attributes imposed ad hoc to explain the present observables associated with “smoothness”? One more question for the experts: You insist that it is the manifold of space that has expanded, with objects imbedded in that space and carried along with it…yet there is no physical difference, according to relativistic principles, -between that expansion and the simple idea of objects receding from each other in pre existing infinite space. It seems that if space itself expands, then there is no energy field or physical objects immune from it…ie.. When the first Hydrogen atoms formed early on, how do we know that the distance between proton and electron in the ground state has not like wise expanded in proportion to the universal expansion?

    One more observation, I agree with the philosophical bent of mind that questions the idea of something from nothing…Shermer, Krauss et al seem to have at least as much purpose in insisting, in a sense, that humans and their science are epistemologically unlimited…a view that, to my thinking is easily disproved by the very well observed effects of quantum phenomena. If we can agree that the “laws of thought”…-the very ideas that must be given in order that we may be said to “understand”…a relevant aspect of such laws having a foundation no better improved upon than Aristotle’s principle of consistency ie. “things cannot both be and not be at the same time, place, etc”….then QM quite obviously violates it…so in that sense the very bedrock of our physical ideas…QM…is an epistemological dead-end…at least in the phenomenologically intuitive sense…which I think is what the Consistency Principle is all about. We will never “truly” understand it as long as our thought itself is based in physical mechanism…how can thought transcend its own (theoretically) materialistic roots?

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