Alan Guth, Biography, Age, Office, Books, Awards

Alan Guth Biography

Alan Guth also Alan Harvey Guth is an American theoretical physicist and cosmologist. Guth has researched elementary particle theory. He is Victor Weisskopf Professor of Physics in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Along with Alexei Starobinsky and Andrei Linde, he won the 2014 Kavli Prize “for pioneering the theory of cosmic inflation.”He was born on 27th February 1947 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. 
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 developed the idea of cosmic inflation in 1979 at Cornell and gave his first seminar on the subject in January 1980. 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.

Alan Guth Age/Family

Guth was born on February 27th, 1947 ( 72 years old as of 2018). Alan was born in a Jewish family he was born to Hyman Guth and Elain Cheiten Guth.

Alan Guth Wife/Kids

Alan is married to Susan Tisch his high school sweetheart in 1971. They have two children, Lawrence Guth and Jennifer Guth.

Alan Guth Early Life

Guth was born to a Jewish family in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1947 and grew up across the Raritan River in Highland Park, there he attended the local public schools. After his junior year at Highland Park High School, he left school and enrolled in a five-year program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he could get his bachelor’s and master’s after two more years. He obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree in 1969 and a doctorate in 1972.
Guth was at Princeton 1971 to 1974, Columbia 1974 to 1977, Cornell 1977 to 1979, and at 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.”
At the start of his career, Guth studied particle physics, not physical cosmology. Guth’s earliest work at Princeton was in the study of quarks, the elementary particles that make up protons and neutrons. At Columbia, he 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.

Alan Guth Photos

Alan Guth
Alan Guth

Alan Guth Career

Guth’s first step to developing his theory of inflation occurred at Cornell in 1978, when he attended a lecture by Robert Dicke about the flatness problem of the universe. Dicke explained how the flatness problem showed that something significant was missing from the Big Bang theory at the time.
He further explained that the fate of the universe depended on its density. If the density of the universe was large enough, it would collapse into a singularity, and if the actual density of the matter in the cosmos was lower than the critical density, the universe would increasingly get much bigger.
Guth’s next path came when he heard a lecture by Steven Weinberg in early 1979. Weinberg talked in two lectures about the Grand Unified Theory (GUT) that had been developed since 1974, and how it could explain the huge amount of matter in the universe compared to the amount of antimatter.
The GUT explained all the fundamental forces known in science except for gravity. It established that in very hot conditions, such as those after the Big Bang, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force were united to form one force. Weinberg also was the one who emphasized the idea that the universe goes through phase transitions, similar to the phases of matter when going from high energy to low energy.
Weinberg’s discussion of why matter is so dominant over anti-matter showed Guth how precise calculations about particles could be obtained by studying the first few seconds of the universe.
Guth decided to solve this problem by suggesting a supercooling during a delayed phase transition. This seemed very promising for solving the magnetic monopole problem. By the time they came up with that, Guth had gone to the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) for a year, but Guth had been talking to Henry Tye back and forth.
Tye suggested that they check that the expansion of the universe would not be affected by the supercooling. In the supercooled state, a false vacuum is produced. The false vacuum is a vacuum in the sense that it is the state of the lowest possible density of energy; it is false in the sense that it is not a permanent state of being.
Guth realized from his theory that the reason the universe appears to be flat was that it was fantastically big, just the same way the spherical Earth appears flat to those on its surface. The observable universe was actually only a very small part of the actual universe. Traditional Big Bang theory found values of omega near one to be puzzling because any deviations from one would quickly become much, much larger.
Two weeks later, Guth heard colleagues discussing something called the horizon problem. The microwave background radiation discovered by Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson appeared extremely uniform, with almost no variance. This seemed very paradoxical because, when the radiation was released about 300,000 years after the Big Bang, the observable universe had a diameter of 90 million light-years.
The paradox was resolved, as Guth soon realized, by the inflation theory. Since inflation started with a far smaller amount of matter than the Big Bang had presupposed, an amount so small that all parts would have been in touch with each other. The universe then inflated at billion times the speed of light so the homogeneity remained unbroken. The universe after inflation would have been very uniform even though the parts were not still in touch with each other.
Guth first made public his ideas on inflation in a seminar at SLAC in January 1980. He ignored magnetic monopoles because they were based on assumptions of GUT, which was outside the scope of the speech. In August, he submitted his paper, entitled “Inflationary universe: A possible solution to the horizon and flatness problems” to the journal Physical Review.
In the paper, Guth postulated that the inflation of the universe could be explained if the universe were supercooled 28 orders of magnitude below the critical temperatures required for a phase change.
Guth came to be 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.
2005 Guth won the award for the messiest office in Boston, 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.

Alan Guth Office

2005 Guth won the award for the messiest office in Boston, organised by the Boston Globe. He was entered by colleagues who hoped it would make him tidy it up but he was proud of it instead.

Alan Guth Books

  • The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins

Alan Guth Networth

Alan has a networth of 50 million dollars

Alan Guth Awards

July 2012, he was an inaugural awardee of the Fundamental Physics Prize, the creation of physicist and internet entrepreneur, Yuri Milner. In 2014, he was a co-recipient of the Kavli Prize awarded by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters with Andrei Linde of Stanford University, and Alexei Starobinsky of the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics.

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