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Alexander Vilenkin (Russian: Алекса́ндр Виле́нкин; Ukrainian: Олександр Віленкін; born 13 May 1949, in Kharkiv, 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[when?] Paul Steinhardt presented the first model of eternal inflation, Vilenkin showed that eternal inflation is generic. Furthermore, working with Arvin Borde and Alan Guth, he showed that a period of inflation must have a beginning and that a period of time must precede it. 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. Evidence exists[clarification needed] to suggest that the probability is very small, resulting in an initial conditions problem.
As an undergraduate studying physics at the University of Kharkiv, Vilenkin turned down a job offer from the KGB, causing him being blacklisted from pursuing a graduate degree. Then he was drafted onto a building brigade and later worked at the state zoo as a night watchman while conducting physics research in his spare time.
In 1976, Vilenkin immigrated to the United States as a Jewish refugee, 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.
- Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes (July 2006).
- Cosmic Strings and Other Topological Defects by A. Vilenkin, E. P. S. Shellard, Alexander Vilenkin, and E. Paul S. Shellard (Paperback - Jul 31, 2000)
- American Men and Women of Science, Thompson Gale, 2005.
- Vilenkin, Alexander (1983). "Birth of Inflationary Universes". Phys. Rev. D. 27 (12): 2848–2855. Bibcode:1983PhRvD..27.2848V. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.27.2848.
- Borde, Arvin; Guth, Alan; Vilenkin, Alexander (2003). "Inflationary Spacetimes Are Incomplete in Past Directions". Phys. Rev. Lett. 90 (15): 151301. arXiv: . Bibcode:2003PhRvL..90o1301B. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.90.151301. PMID 12732026.
- MENCONI, DAVID. "TO FIND HERSELF AS A MUSICIAN, ALINA SIMONE FIRST HAD TO FIND HER RUSSIAN ROOTS", Tufts Magazine, 2010.
- Freedman, David H. "The Mediocre Universe", Discover Magazine, 01 February 1996.
- STOBER, DAN. "Physicist: Universes pop up ad infinitum", Stanford News, 01 April 2009.
- Publications of Alexander Vilenkin @ INSPIRE-HEP
- Interview with Vilenkin on "New Books in Astronomy"
- Lecture by Vilenkin on "Proving the Universe Had a Beginning"