A team of physicists from Harvard and Princeton universities recently ignited a controversy among the scientific community by pointing out apparent weaknesses in a key element of the Big Bang theory.
Physicists Anna Ijjas, Paul Steinhardt, and Abraham Loeb wrote a critique of the standard model of the universe’s beginnings in an edition of the Scientific American earlier this year. Recent scientific measurements, they wrote, have “cast doubt” on a key element of the Big Bang theory and “exacerbated long-standing foundational problems with the theory.”
The key element of the Big Bang theory that the physicists call into question is the theory of “cosmic inflation.” Cosmic inflation is the widely-accepted idea that, immediately following the Big Bang, the universe grew exponentially, expanding in size much faster than it is today.
In their paper, however, Ijjas, Steinhardt, and Loeb cited several pieces of evidence that they believe undermine cosmic inflation, later writing, “the prospect that inflation did not occur deserves serious consideration.”