Alan Guth bigraphy, stories - American Cosmologist, Theoretical Physics

Alan Guth : biography

27 February 1947 -

Alan Harvey Guth (born February 27, 1947) is an American theoretical physicist and cosmologist. Guth has researched elementary particle theory (and how particle theory is applicable to the early universe). Currently serving as Victor Weisskopf Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he is the originator of the inflationary universe theory.

He graduated from MIT in 1968 in physics and stayed to receive a master's and a doctorate, also in physics.

As a junior particle physicist, Guth first developed the idea of cosmic inflation in 1979 at Cornell and gave his first seminar on the subject in January 1980.SLAC seminar, "10-35 seconds after the Big Bang", 23 January 1980. see Guth (1997), pg 186 Moving on to Stanford University Guth formally proposed the idea of cosmic inflation in 1981, the idea that the nascent universe passed through a phase of exponential expansion that was driven by a positive vacuum energy density (negative vacuum pressure). The results of the WMAP mission in 2006 made the case for cosmic inflation very compelling.

Honors and awards

In July 2012, he was an inaugural awardee of the Fundamental Physics Prize, the creation of physicist and internet entrepreneur, Yuri Milner., FPP, accesed 1 August 2012

Current life

In the past Guth has studied lattice gauge theory, magnetic monopoles and instantons, Gott time machines, and a number of other topics in theoretical physics. Much of Guth's current work includes extrapolating density fluctuations arising from various versions of inflation, to test against observations, and investigating inflation in "brane world" models.

Guth is the Victor F. Weisskopf Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). So far, he has written about 60 technical papers related to the effects of inflation and its interactions with particle physics. He has won many awards and medals, including the Medal of the International Center for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy, with Andrei Linde and Paul Steinhardt and the Eddington Medal in 1996, and the 2009 Isaac Newton Medal, awarded by the British Institute of Physics.

In 2005 Guth won the award for the messiest office, organised by the Boston Globe. He was entered by colleagues who hoped it would shame him into tidying up, but Guth is quite proud of the award.Alexander Vilenkin, Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes, ISBN 978-0-8090-9523-0, page 51 for photo'.


  • Guth, Alan, "The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins". 1997. ISBN 0-201-32840-2 or ISBN 0-224-04448-6

Early life

Alan Guth was born on February 27, 1947 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. After his junior year at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he enrolled in a five-year program where he could get his bachelor’s and master’s after two more years. Guth obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree in 1969 and a doctorate in 1972. In 1971, he married Susan Tisch, his high school sweetheart. They have two children: Lawrence (born 1977) and Jennifer (born 1983).

Guth was at Princeton 1971 to 1974, Columbia 1974 to 1977, Cornell 1977 to 1979, and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) 1979 to 1980. Like many other young physicists of the baby boom era, he had a hard time finding a permanent job, because there were far fewer assistant professorships than there were young scientists seeking such jobs, a phenomenon that has been referred to as the “generation of lost scholars.”(1978) Carnegie Council on Policy Studies in Higher Education, “Preserving a Lost Generation: Policies to Assure a Steady Flow of Young Scholars Until the Year 2000”; Downloaded 2011-07-09

At the start of his career, Guth studied particle physics, not cosmology. Guth's earliest work at Princeton was in the study of quarks, the elementary particles that make up protons and neutrons. At Columbia, Guth studied grand unification (GUTs), focusing on the phase transitions generated by spontaneous symmetry breaking. Most GUTs predict the generation of magnetic monopoles during spontaneous symmetry breaking, but none had ever been detected - the monopole problem.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine