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Active Faculty
Harald Trap Friis Professor
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What is the origin and the global structure of the universe?

For a long time, scientists believed that our universe was born in the big bang, as an expanding ball of fire. This scenario dramatically changed during the last 30 years. Now we think that initially the universe was rapidly inflating, being in an unstable energetic vacuum-like state. It became hot only later, when this vacuum-like state decayed. Quantum fluctuations produced during inflation are responsible for galaxy formation. In some places, these quantum fluctuations are so large that they can produce new rapidly expanding parts of the universe. This process makes the universe immortal and transforms it into a multiverse, a huge fractal consisting of many exponentially large parts with different laws of low-energy physics operating in each of them.

Professor Linde is one of the authors of inflationary theory and of the theory of an eternal inflationary multiverse. His work emphasizes the cosmological implications of string theory.

Current areas of focus:

- Construction of realistic models of inflation based on supergravity and string theory
- Investigation of conceptual issues related to the theory of inflationary multiverse

Career History

  • B.S., Moscow State University
  • Ph.D., 1975, Lebedev Physical Institute, Moscow
  • Professor, Lebedev Physical Institute, Moscow, 1985-89
  • Staff Member of CERN, Switzerland, 1989-90
  • Professor of Physics, Stanford University, 1990-present
  • Harald Trap Friis Professorship, Stanford University, 2008-present


  • Lomonosov Award of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, 1978
  • Morris Loeb Lecturer, Harvard University, 1987
  • Oskar Klein medal in physics, 2001
  • Dirac medal for the development of inflationary cosmology, 2002
  • Peter Gruber Prize for for the development of inflationary cosmology, 2004
  • Humboldt Research Award, Germany, 2004
  • Robinson Prize for Cosmology, Newcastle University, UK, 2005
  • Medal of the Institue of Astrophysics, Paris, France, 2006
  • National Academy of Sciences, 2008
  • Corresponding member of the Hamburg Academy of Sciences, Germany, 2010
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2011
  • Fundamental Physics Prize, 2012