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Before the beginning of the universe

June 15, 2008
Alan Guth of MIT, who first proposed the inflation theory nearly three decades ago, says he suspects “the reported lopsidedness will more likely turn out to be a fluke.” However, he adds, “the concept of inflation is really only the framework of a theory, and so far experiment has given us very little guidance in trying to fill in the details.
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Caltech scientists have developed new models of the universe that account for the recent finding that temperature variations in the cosmic microwave background radiation over half the sky appear to be about 10 percent greater than the variations in the other half.
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In one scenario, the universe existed before inflation — the
short-lived but enormous growth spurt associated with the Big Bang. In the
other scenario, the universe is but a tiny part of a primordial structure now grown
so big it exceeds the horizon of the observable universe.
Either way, the explanations suggest “that something outside
our observable universe or before the period of inflation left a relic, left
some imprint on what we can observe today,” says Carroll, of Caltech.
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