Alexander Vilenkin

Alexander Vilenkin (Russian: Алекса́ндр Виле́нкин; Ukrainian: Олександр Віленкін; born 13 May 1949, in Kharkiv,[1] Ukraine, Soviet Union) is the Leonard Jane Holmes Bernstein Professor of Evolutionary Science and Director of the Institute of Cosmology at Tufts University.[2][3] A theoretical physicist who has been working in the field of cosmology for 25 years, Vilenkin has written over 260 publications.[4]

Alexander Vilenkin
Alexander Vilenkin at Harvard University
Born (1949-05-13) May 13, 1949 (age 71)
Alma materUniversity at Buffalo
Known forEternal inflation
Borde–Guth–Vilenkin theorem
Scientific career
FieldsPhysical cosmology
InstitutionsTufts University

In 1982, Paul Steinhardt presented the first model of eternal inflation, Vilenkin showed that eternal inflation is generic.[5] Furthermore, working with Arvind Borde and Alan Guth, he developed the Borde–Guth–Vilenkin theorem, showing that a period of inflation must have a beginning and that a period of time must precede it.[6] This represents a problem for the theory of inflation because, without a theory to explain conditions before inflation, it is not possible to determine how likely it is for inflation to have occurred. Evidence exists[clarification needed] to suggest that the probability is very small, resulting in an initial conditions problem.[citation needed]

He also introduced the idea of quantum creation of the universe from a quantum vacuum. Moreover, his work in cosmic strings has been pivotal.[clarification needed][according to whom?]

As an undergraduate studying physics at the University of Kharkiv, Vilenkin turned down a job offer from the KGB, causing him being blacklisted from pursuing a graduate degree.[7][8] Then he was drafted onto a building brigade and later worked at the state zoo as a night watchman while conducting physics research in his spare time.[7][9]

In 1976, Vilenkin immigrated to the United States as a Jewish refugee,[9] obtaining his Ph.D. at Buffalo. His work has been featured in numerous newspaper and magazine articles in the United States, Europe, Soviet Union, and Japan, and in many popular books.[citation needed]



  1. ^ American Men and Women of Science, Thompson Gale, 2005.
  2. ^ "Alexander Vilenkin". Tufts Institute of Cosmology. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  3. ^ "Named Professorships". Tufts School of Arts and Sciences. Tufts University. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  4. ^ "Alexander Vilenkin Research References". Research Gate. Retrieved September 17, 2019.
  5. ^ Vilenkin, Alexander (1983). "Birth of Inflationary Universes". Phys. Rev. D. 27 (12): 2848–2855. Bibcode:1983PhRvD..27.2848V. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.27.2848.
  6. ^ Borde, Arvind; Guth, Alan; Vilenkin, Alexander (2003). "Inflationary Spacetimes Are Incomplete in Past Directions". Phys. Rev. Lett. 90 (15): 151301. arXiv:gr-qc/0110012. Bibcode:2003PhRvL..90o1301B. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.90.151301. PMID 12732026.
  7. ^ a b MENCONI, DAVID. "TO FIND HERSELF AS A MUSICIAN, ALINA SIMONE FIRST HAD TO FIND HER RUSSIAN ROOTS Archived November 17, 2017, at the Wayback Machine", Tufts Magazine, 2010.
  8. ^ Freedman, David H. "The Mediocre Universe", Discover Magazine, 01 February 1996.
  9. ^ a b STOBER, DAN. "Physicist: Universes pop up ad infinitum", Stanford News, 01 April 2009.

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