Inflation Theory Summarized




Inflation theory brings together ideas from physics and high-energy physics to explore the first moments of the universe, following the large bang. consistent with inflation theory, the universe was created in an unstable energy level , which forced a rapid expansion of the universe in its early moments. One consequence is that the universe is vastly bigger than anticipated, far larger than the dimensions that we will observe with our telescopes. Another consequence is that this theory predicts some traits—such because the uniform distribution of energy and therefore the flat geometry of spacetime—which wasn't previously explained within the framework of the large bang theory.


Developed in 1980 by particle physicist Alan Guth, inflation theory is today generally considered a widely-accepted component of the large bang theory, albeit the central ideas of the large bang theory were well established for years before the event of inflation theory.


The Origins of Inflation Theory
The big bang theory had proven quite successful over the years, especially having been confirmed through the invention of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. Despite the good success of the idea to elucidate most aspects of the universe which we saw, there have been three major problems remaining:

The homogeneity problem (or, "Why was the universe so incredibly uniform only one second after the large bang?;" because the question is presented in Endless Universe: Beyond the large Bang)
The flatness problem
The predicted overproduction of magnetic monopoles
The big bang model appeared to predict a curved universe during which energy wasn't distributed in the least evenly, and during which there have been tons of magnetic monopoles, none of which matched the evidence.

Particle physicist Alan Guth first learned of the flatness problem during a 1978 lecture at Cornell University by Robert Dicke. Over subsequent few years, Guth applied concepts from high-energy physics to things and developed an inflation model of the first universe.


Guth presented his findings at a January 23, 1980 lecture at the Stanford linac Center. His revolutionary idea was that the principles of physics at the guts of high-energy physics might be applied to the first moments of the large bang creation. The universe would are created with a high energy density. Thermodynamics dictate that the density of the universe would have forced it to expand extremely rapidly.

For those that have an interest in additional detail, essentially the universe would are created during a "false vacuum" with the Higgs mechanism turned off (or, put differently , the Higgs boson didn't exist). it might have skilled a process of supercooling, seeking out a stable lower-energy state (a "true vacuum" during which the Higgs mechanism switched on), and it had been this supercooling process which drove the inflationary period of rapid expansion.


How rapidly? . The universe would have been doubled in size every 10-35 sec. Within 10-30 seconds, the universe would have doubled in size 100,000 times, which is quite enough expansion to elucidate the flatness problem. albeit the universe had curvature when it started, that much expansion would cause it to seem flat today. (Consider that the dimensions of the world is large enough that it appears to us to be flat, albeit we all know that the surface we stand on is that the curved outside of a sphere.)

Similarly, energy is distributed so evenly because when it began , we were a really small a part of the universe, which a part of the universe expanded so quickly that if there have been any major uneven distributions of energy, they'd be too distant for us to perceive. this is often an answer to the homogeneity problem.

Refining the idea 
The problem with the idea , as far as Guth could tell, was that when the inflation began, it might continue forever. There appeared to be no clear shut-off mechanism in situ .

Also, if space was continually expanding at this rate, then a previous idea about the first universe, presented by Sidney Coleman, wouldn't work. Coleman had predicted that phase transitions within the early universe happened by the creation of small bubbles that coalesced together. With inflation in situ , the small bubbles were moving faraway from one another too fast to ever coalesce.

Fascinated by the prospect, the Russian physicist Andre Linde attacked this problem and realized there was another interpretation which took care of this problem, while on this side of the ideological barrier (this was the 1980s, remember) Andreas Albrecht and Paul J. Steinhardt came up with an identical solution.

This newer variant of the idea is that the one that basically gained traction throughout the 1980s and eventually became a part of the established explosion theory.

Other Names for Inflation Theory
Inflation Theory goes by several other names, including:

cosmological inflation
cosmic inflation
inflation
old inflation (Guth's original 1980 version of the theory)
new inflation theory (the name for the version with the bubble problem fixed)
slow-roll inflation (the name for the version with the bubble problem fixed)

There also are two closely related variants of the idea , chaotic inflation and eternal inflation, which have some minor distinctions. In these theories, inflation mechanism didn't  happen once immediately following the large bang, but rather happens over and over in several regions of space all of the time. They posit a rapidly-multiplying number of "bubble universes" as a part of the multiverse. Some physicists means that these predictions are present altogether versions of inflation theory, so don't really consider them distinct theories.

Being a scientific theory , there's a field interpretation of inflation theory. during this approach, the driving mechanism is that the inflation field or inflation particle.

Note: While the concept of dark energy in modern cosmological theory also accelerates the expansion of the universe, the mechanisms involved appear to be very different from those involved in inflation theory. One area of interest to cosmologists is that the ways during which inflation theory might cause insights into dark energy, or the other way around .

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