NASA Picture of the Day. The horizon problem is solved because the different regions we see used to be close enough to communicate, but during inflation, space expanded so rapidly that these close regions were spread out to cover all of the visible universe. The 33 signatories pointed to the fact that 14,000 papers that use the word “inflation” or “inflationary” in their titles or abstracts have been written by 9,000 scientists. The Inflation Theory: Solving the Universe’s Problems of Flatness and Horizon.
One wonders how many papers were written on the formation of the continents before plate tectonics was proposed.
Worse, inflation is very difficult to stop, creating a multiverse of causally disconnected universes that eternally bud off from one another.
It was invented to explain the 1:10^66 fine-tuning of the Big Bang, but in the end, it required 1:10^10^100 fine-tuning.
That seems a naked assault on the laws of thermodynamics. The horizon problem (also sometimes called the homogeneity problem) is that no matter which direction you look in the universe, you see basically the same thing (see the following figure). The very results hailed this year as demonstrating a consequence of inflationary models of the universe — and therefore pointing to the existence of multiverses – now seem to do the exact opposite. In trying to understand the universe, two major problems remained: the flatness problem and the horizon problem. Normally, you’d take this to mean that all the CMBR in the universe has somehow diffused throughout the universe, like heating up an oven. In its earliest instants, the universe expanded faster than light (light’s speed limit only applies to things within the universe). The flatness problem is resolved because the act of inflation actually flattens the universe. (The boundary is actually farther because space itself is expanding, but you can ignore that for the purposes of this example.) Did the variations not exist? But maybe it is more of a crossroads.
All parties to the dispute assume, as a metaphysical stance, that science cannot address the possibility that the universe shows evidence of design. But it’s still controversial. If the speed of light was faster in the early universe, that would also explain the temperature problem. In fact, it’s darn nearly flat. Cosmic inflation theory, first proposed by Alan Guth in 1981, modified the Big Bang theory (the Standard Model) by proposing that the universe, instead of unfolding at a steady pace, expanded rapidly shortly after it was created, which could account for apparent fine-tuning.
Cosmic inflation theory, first proposed by Alan Guth in 1981, modified the Big Bang theory (the Standard Model) by proposing that the universe, instead of unfolding at a steady pace, expanded rapidly shortly after it was created, which could account for apparent fine-tuning. Flat universe: The expansion of the universe and the density of matter perfectly balance out, so the universe’s expansion slows down over time but never quite stops completely.
One way out might be to weaken the constant speed of light.
If you look in one direction in space, you’re actually looking back in time. Inflation was invented to explain a couple of features of the universe that are really hard to explain without it. Did something happen to smooth them out? Cosmic inflation is a faster-than-light expansion of the universe that spawned many others. Science writer Dennis Overbye calls the inflation controversy a crisis in cosmology.
Especially now because, the multiverse (“anything that can happen will happen”) is becoming so much a fixture of popular science culture that careers will thrive simply on formulating clever arguments for its existence, not on demonstrating it.
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