Imagining the Universe: Andrei Linde - "Universe or Multiverse?"
Cosmological observations show that the universe is very uniform on the maximally large scale accessible to our telescopes. The best theoretical explanation of this uniformity is provided by the inflationary theory. Rather paradoxically, this theory also predicts that on a very large scale, much greater than what we can see now, the world may look totally different. Instead of being a single spherically symmetric balloon, our universe may look like a “multiverse”, a collection of many different exponentially large balloons (“universes”) with different laws of physics operating in each of them. The new cosmological paradigm, supported by recent developments in string theory, changes the standard views on the origin and the global structure of the universe and on our own place in the world.
Andrei Linde is a professor of physics at Stanford University, one of the authors of the inflationary theory and the theory of inflationary multiverse. He invented the theory of chaotic inflation, which is the most general form of inflationary cosmology. Linde also helped to develop the mechanism of vacuum stabilization in string theory, which allowed to incorporate the theory of inflationary multiverse in the context of string theory. He is the author of the books Inflation and Quantum Cosmology and Particle Physics and Inflationary Cosmology. His honors include the Dirac Medal, Peter Gruber Prize, the Fundamental Physics Prize, and Kavli Prize.