The Origins Podcast with Lawrence Krauss

Andrei Linde: Inflation, Multiverses, and all that, from Mr. Eternal Inflation

May 14, 2023

Andrei Linde is one of the world’s leading cosmological theorists, and is the father of much of Inflationary Cosmology. After Alan Guth developed the original idea of Inflation, Linde, who had been active in this area while working in Moscow, realized a way to make a workable theory out of it, resolving a major problem, called the ‘Graceful Exit’ problem. After that, he made the striking realization that Inflation is inevitable, even in relatively simple theoretical models, and moreover that Inflation will in general be eternal, spawning an infinite number of ‘pocket universes’, as Guth calls them, over an infinite amount of time. While there is much talk about multiverses in the context of string theory, it is the Inflationary Multiverse that is most well motivated, and is currently the most widely accepted picture of the global structure of space and time at the present moment.

Andrei is not only an incredible creative scientist, he is a charming fellow. I have enjoyed my interactions with him since I first met him, about 40 years ago. He is one of a handful of leading Russian scientists who were snapped up by the US after the fall of the Soviet Union. Since arriving in the US he has helped lead a vibrant program in Cosmology and String Theory at Stanford University. I was very excited to finally be able to have a dialogue with Andrei for The Origins Podcast. His teaching schedule precluded doing something each time I had reached out to him in the past, so I felt very fortunate when the stars aligned, or at least his teaching schedule and my recording schedule aligned. What resulted is a fascinating conversation with a remarkable scientist, and a lovely conversationalist. We discussed his own experiences in Russia and then again after emigrating, as well as Inflation, Multiverses, and the state of modern cosmology. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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