Month: January 2007

The Man Who Put the ‘Big’ in ‘Big Bang’

Alan Guth
A sciencewriter.org exclusive: click to read the full interview with Alan Guth 25 years after he turned cosmology on its head

On the night of December 6, 1979, 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 grew exponentially, going from microscopic to cosmic size. This explosive epoch, fueled by a yet- (and still-) undetermined kind of antigravity, could apparently solve in one stroke several of the problems that had plagued the young theory of the big bang.

Twenty-five years later, I asked Guth for his thoughts on his legacy and how it fits with the discovery of dark energy and the recent excitement in string theory. Quotes from my interview have later appeared in my Symmetry magazine feature article. Here I am publishing the full interview for the first time.

Parts of the interview are not for the faint of heart, but I figured other science geeks like me might find it interesting. For a less jargony story, and a hopefully gentle introduction to Guth’s work, check out my Symmetry article.

Go to the interview with Alan Guth

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My Top 10 Science Stories of 2006

on the hammock
What’s wrong with this picture? Read my Top 10 Science Stories of 2006 and you’ll find out.

There are science stories that are real breakthroughs in a given field. There are science stories that have obvious implications on society, health, or the economy. And then, there are science stories that you just can’t wait to share with other people. Just like I did last year, I compiled my favorite stories of the year, according to that single, very personal criterion. These aren’t necessarily the most relevant stories of the year scientifically or even journalistically. In a couple of cases, they aren’t even new, technically, although they were new to me. They are the stories I really wish I had covered in 2006. Well, now I have.

To read my Top 10, you can start the countdown from #10 or go directly to the Top 10 list.