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Andrei Linde

Harald Trap Friis Professor of Physics, Stanford University

Andrei Dmitriyevich Linde is a Russian-American theoretical physicist and the Harald Trap Friis Professor of Physics at Stanford University. Linde is one of the main authors of the inflationary universe theory, as well as the theory of eternal inflation and inflationary multiverse. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Moscow State University and was awarded a PhD from the Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow.

He worked at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) since 1989 and moved to the United States in 1990 where he became Professor of Physics at Stanford University. Among the various awards he’s received for his work on inflation, in 2002 he was awarded the Dirac Medal, along with Alan Guth of MIT and Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University. In 2004 he received, along with Alan Guth, the Gruber Cosmology Prize for the development of inflationary cosmology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. David Kirzhnits and Andrei Linde developed a theory of cosmological phase transitions. According to this theory, there was not much difference between weak, strong and electromagnetic interactions in the very early universe. These interactions became different from each other only gradually, after the cosmological phase transitions while the universe expanded and cooled down. In 1974 Linde found that the energy density of scalar fields breaking symmetry between different interactions can play the role of the vacuum energy density (cosmological constant) in the Einstein equations. In 1976-1978 he demonstrated that the release of this energy during the cosmological phase transitions may be sufficient to heat up the universe.

Andrei Linde developed another version of inflationary theory, which he called “new inflation.” He demonstrated that the exponentially rapid expansion of the universe could occur not only in the false vacuum, but also during a slow transition away from the false vacuum. In 1983, Linde abandoned some of the key principles of old and new inflation and proposed a more general inflationary theory, chaotic inflation. Chaotic inflation occurs in a much broader class of theories, without any need for the assumption of initial thermal equilibrium. The basic principles of this scenario became incorporated in most of the presently existing realistic versions of inflationary theory.

At present Linde is continuing his work on the theory of inflationary multiverse. He is also working on the development of advanced versions of inflationary theory based on string theory and supergravity, which should be flexible enough to properly describe a vast amount of new and upcoming cosmological observational data. Linde was an inaugural awardee of the Fundamental Physics Prize, the creation of physicist and internet entrepreneur, Yuri Milner.


Topic Series


Inflation and Quantum Cosmology

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Particle Physics and Inflationary Cosmology (CONTEMPORARY CONCEPTS IN PHYSICS)

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