Alexander Vilenkin

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Alexander Vilenkin at Harvard University

Alexander Vilenkin (Russian: Алекса́ндр Виле́нкин,Ukrainian: Олександр Віленкін; 13 May 1949, Kharkiv,[1] Ukraine, Soviet Union) is Professor of Physics and Director of the Institute of Cosmology at Tufts University. A theoretical physicist who has been working in the field of cosmology for 25 years, Vilenkin has written over 150 papers. Soon after Paul Steinhardt presented the first example of eternal inflation, Vilenkin showed that eternal inflation is generic.[2] Working with Arvin Borde and Alan Guth, In 2003, he showed that a period of inflation has to have a beginning and there has to be a period that precedes it.[3] This is a problem because, without a theory to explain the conditions before inflation, it is not possible to determine how likely it is for inflation ever to occur. Some considerations suggest that the probability is very small, resulting the "initial conditions problem.”

He also introduced the idea of quantum creation of the universe from a quantum vacuum. His work in cosmic strings has been pivotal.

Vilenkin received his undergraduate degree in physics in 1971 in the former Soviet Union (University of Kharkiv). He later moved to the United States, where he obtained his Ph.D. at Buffalo. His work has been featured in numerous newspaper and magazine articles in the United States, Europe, Soviet Union, and Japan, and in many popular books.

Vilenkin sometimes wears sunglasses when giving seminars which give him a characteristic appearance. Apparently these are because his eyes are sensitive to bright projector lights.



  1. ^ American Men and Women of Science, Thompson Gale, 2005.
  2. ^ Vilenkin, Alexander (1983). "Birth of Inflationary Universes". Phys. Rev. D. 27 (12): 2848–2855. Bibcode:1983PhRvD..27.2848V. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.27.2848. 
  3. ^ Borde, Arvin; Guth, Alan; Vilenkin, Alexander (2003). "Inflationary Spacetimes Are Incomplete in Past Directions". Phys.Rev.Lett. 90 (15): 151301. Bibcode:2003PhRvL..90o1301B. PMID 12732026. arXiv:gr-qc/0110012Freely accessible. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.90.151301. 

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