Alexander Vilenkin

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Alexander Vilenkin
Олександр Віленкін;
Vilenkin at Harvard University, 2005
Born (1949-05-13) May 13, 1949 (age 73)
Alma materUniversity at Buffalo
Known forEternal inflation
Borde–Guth–Vilenkin theorem
Cosmic strings
Scientific career
FieldsPhysical cosmology
InstitutionsTufts University

Alexander Vilenkin (Russian: Алекса́ндр Виле́нкин; Ukrainian: Олександр Віленкін; born 13 May 1949) is the Leonard Jane Holmes Bernstein Professor of Evolutionary Science and Director of the Institute of Cosmology at Tufts University.[2][3] A theoretical physicist who has been working in the field of cosmology for 25 years, Vilenkin has written over 260 publications.[4]


As an undergraduate studying physics at the University of Kharkiv, Vilenkin turned down a job offer from the KGB, causing him to be blacklisted from pursuing a graduate degree.[5][6] Then he was drafted into a building brigade and later worked at the state zoo as a night watchman while conducting physics research in his spare time.[5][7]

In 1976, Vilenkin immigrated to the United States as a Jewish refugee,[7] obtaining 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.[citation needed]


In 1982, Paul Steinhardt presented the first model of eternal inflation, Vilenkin showed that eternal inflation is generic.[8] Furthermore, working with Arvind Borde and Alan Guth, he developed the Borde–Guth–Vilenkin theorem, showing that a period of inflation must have a beginning and that a period of time must precede it.[9] This represents a problem for the theory of inflation because, without a theory to explain conditions before inflation, it is not possible to determine how likely it is for inflation to have occurred.

He also further developed Edward P. Tryon's idea of quantum creation of the universe from a quantum vacuum.[10]

He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1989 "for pioneering research in the application of particle physics to cosmology, and in particular for seminal contributions in the areas of cosmic strings and quantum cosmology". [11]


  • Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes A. Vilenkin (Macmillan, July 2006)
  • Cosmic Strings and Other Topological Defects by A. Vilenkin, E. P. S. Shellard (Paperback - Jul 31, 2000)


  1. ^ American Men and Women of Science, Thompson Gale, 2005.
  2. ^ "Alexander Vilenkin". Tufts Institute of Cosmology. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  3. ^ "Named Professorships". Tufts School of Arts and Sciences. Tufts University. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  4. ^ "Alexander Vilenkin Research References". Research Gate. Retrieved September 17, 2019.
  5. ^ a b MENCONI, DAVID. "TO FIND HERSELF AS A MUSICIAN, ALINA SIMONE FIRST HAD TO FIND HER RUSSIAN ROOTS Archived November 17, 2017, at the Wayback Machine", Tufts Magazine, 2010.
  6. ^ Freedman, David H. "The Mediocre Universe", Discover Magazine, 01 February 1996.
  7. ^ a b STOBER, DAN. "Physicist: Universes pop up ad infinitum", Stanford News, 01 April 2009.
  8. ^ Vilenkin, Alexander (1983). "Birth of Inflationary Universes". Phys. Rev. D. 27 (12): 2848–2855. Bibcode:1983PhRvD..27.2848V. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.27.2848.
  9. ^ Borde, Arvind; Guth, Alan; Vilenkin, Alexander (2003). "Inflationary Spacetimes Are Incomplete in Past Directions". Phys. Rev. Lett. 90 (15): 151301. arXiv:gr-qc/0110012. Bibcode:2003PhRvL..90o1301B. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.90.151301. PMID 12732026. S2CID 46902994.
  10. ^ Alexander, Vilenkin. "Creation of Universes from Nothing" (PDF). Physics Letters. 117B: 25–28.
  11. ^ "APS Fellow Archive". APS. Retrieved October 5, 2020.

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