Cosmic inflation one more time—well, two

Why Evolution Is True

Reader Sergio called this comic to my attention (via  Twi**er: @JenLucPiquant and @phdcomics), which gives a good explanation of the meaning of the recent evidence for cosmic inflation.  Maybe you understand those scientific findings by now, but just in case you didn’t read this, from Jon Kaufman and Jorge Cham at PhD Comics (Kaufman was a member of the BICEP2 team that helped make the discovery):

Inflation

And here’s a video of Official Website Physicist™ Sean Carroll explaining the phenomenon on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) and its significance. He does a very good job!

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5 thoughts on “Cosmic inflation one more time—well, two

  1. What I don’t understand is (1) why is our universe expanding faster and faster (instead of slowing down), and (2) if there is more than one universe (i.e., multiverses), could the “pull” from the multiverses be causing the expansion speed of each universe, including our own?

    (Picture of Multiverses by Mario Livio, Astrophysicist, Space Telescope Science Institute)

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    • Don’t worry; no one completely understands these things! Some answers may lie in the notions of dark matter, dark energy, and the Einstein constant. The Cosmological Constant (Λ) is a possible component of Einstein’s field equation. It serves the function of an integration constant in that its presence does not violate the conservation properties of the Einsteinian tensor with respect to covariant differentiation. It need have no counterpart in quantum physics, it is simply part of how gravity on its own might behave.

      Λ represents a repulsive force that becomes significant only at large ranges, whereas the normal Newtonian force becomes increasingly significant at shorter ranges. If weak enough Λ would be undetectable in the solar system yet dominant at cosmological ranges.
      Cosmic acceleration may be evidence of Λ having a non-null value.
      The zero point energy field, detected only as the weakest of forces, the Casimir force, is something different; although it should behave gravitationally identically to Λ and is often confused with it.
      Theoretically ZPE is of huge energy density and if it affected gravitational fields it would totally dominate over all else, being OOM 10120 times larger than Λ.

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        • ucsbalum….HUH? ………..I think it has to do with “dark energy” and “dark flow” – or maybe not. A National Geographic article stated, “The mysterious substance known as dark matter may actually be an illusion created by gravitational interactions between short-lived particles of matter and antimatter.”

          “WHATEVER” IS RIGHT, BOB! 🙂

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