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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