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Ripples from the Big Bang: Listening to the Beginning of Time

Friday, May 30, 2014
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

In March, a major breakthrough in understanding the origin of universe took the scientific community–and the general public–by storm. A team lead by astronomer John Kovac, using a powerful telescope at the South Pole, reported evidence of ripples in the fabric of space time produced by the big bang, a long-sought prediction of our most refined approach to cosmology, the inflationary theory. Amidst the worldwide celebration, though, some have been quietly suggesting that the champagne has been uncorked prematurely. Join a singular conversation, among the world’s most respected pioneers in cosmological theory and observation, that will explore the state of the art in the ongoing quest to understand the beginning of the universe.

This program is part of the Big Ideas Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation. 


Brian Greene
Brian GreenePhysicist

Brian Greene is a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, and is recognized for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in his field of superstring theory. His books, The Elegant Universe, The Fabric of the Cosmos, and The Hidden Reality, have collectively spent 65 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.

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Andrei LindeCosmologist

Andrei Linde is a professor of physics at Stanford University, one of the authors of the inflationary theory and the theory of inflationary multiverse. He invented the theory of chaotic inflation, which is the most general version of inflationary cosmology. Linde also helped to develop the theory of eternal chaotic inflation, and the mechanism of vacuum stabilization in string theory.

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Alan GuthCosmologist

Alan Guth is a professor of physics at MIT, and world-renowned for his discovery of inflationary cosmology, the dominant cosmological paradigm for over two decades. His current research focuses on developing mathematical tools for quantitatively analyzing inflation’s suggestion that there are an infinite number of universes.

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Amber MillerProfessor, Physicist

Amber Miller aims to understand the origin and evolution of the universe by studying the cosmic microwave background, the faint glow of light left over from the Big Bang.

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John KovacAstronomer, Physicist

John Kovac is an associate professor in the Astronomy and Physics Departments at Harvard University. His cosmology research focuses on observations of the cosmic microwave background to reveal signatures of the physics that drove the birth of the universe.

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Paul SteinhardtPhysicist

Paul J. Steinhardt is the Albert Einstein Professor in Science and Director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton University, where he is also on the faculty of both the Department of Physics and the Department of Astrophysical Sciences. He received his B.S. in Physics at Caltech in 1974; his M.A. in Physics in 1975 and Ph.D. in Physics in 1978 at Harvard University.

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