Of Particular Significance

Before Inflation

© Matt Strassler [March 15, 2014]

What do we know about what happened before inflation?*


Oh, sure, there are a lot of scientifically grounded speculations about what happened before. But they are many of them, and they contradict one another; and there is currently no type of data that can distinguish which of these speculations might be right. There isn’t even a leading theory which a majority of scientists tend to think of as the most likely. It simply is not known. For all we know, inflation is a continuous process that is going on throughout most of the universe, stopping occasionally in small regions (huge, compared to our observable patch of universe, but small compared to the universe as a whole.)

*assuming inflation happened at all!

After Inflation: the Hot Big Bang.

7 Responses

  1. We don’t know what is about 90% of the energy (dark energy) of the Universe. The same for about 90 % of matter (dark matter). We don’t know if expansion ended, or why, and the same goes for expansion’s beginning, of which we know “nothing”. The same should go for hyper-inflation. And so on. Isn’t it extremely premature to state a theory? Is it reasonable? How does a theory with so many amendments survive? I never comprehended the attraction of the Big Bang Theory, save for religions reasons and purposes (read Genesis).

  2. Thank you markmevans! I was not aware of this idiom as I am not a native speaker. For all I know, idioms are very logical 🙂

  3. How do you know the infation has not ended in all of the Universe but continues in other parts of it? Isn’t that a speculation too? You present it as if it was somehow backed up by some data.

    1. Hello Matus,

      The expression “For all we know” actually means we don’t know. It’s an English (perhaps American-English) idiom that may be confusing. I believe that what he is saying is that we don’t know and is highlighting an “extreme” possibility as an example of how unconstrained our ignorance is.

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