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Neil Turok interview: The physicist proposing a mirror-image universe

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To clarify the cosmos with out invoking cosmic inflation, physicist Neil Turok has proposed the existence of a mirror-image universe going backwards in time from the large bang. He tells us why the concept is so compelling



Physics



25 January 2023

Nibali Nezzar

COSMOLOGICAL inflation is the concept that, in its first moments, the universe underwent a sudden, excessive growth. That is extensively accepted as a result of it explains why space-time is sort of completely flat and why matter within the cosmos seems so easily distributed on the biggest scales. Or does it? The difficulty is that there are a lot of variations of inflation, most of which wouldn’t result in the universe we observe – and the necessity for such “fine-tuning” of the idea to match observations makes some physicists nervous.

Amongst them is Neil Turok, former director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada, and now on the College of Edinburgh, UK. Turok, alongside Latham Boyle on the Perimeter Institute, has proposed a substitute for inflation that may clarify the evolution of the early universe with out fine-tuning. In 2018, by taking severely one of many deepest symmetries of nature, they arrived at a mind-boggling speculation: a mirror universe stretching backwards in time from the large bang.

An unobservable anti-cosmos is tough to swallow. It didn’t assist that the observations of unusual particles by the ANITA telescope in Antarctica, initially invoked as potential proof for the concept, turned out to be a false alarm. However Turok and Boyle have developed their pondering. Now, following a flurry of papers, they argue that the mirror universe explains all of the stuff that inflation can, but in addition a number of different mysteries, together with that of darkish matter and darkish power. They’ve even made testable predictions in an try and win over sceptics.

Thomas Lewton: Are you able to first clarify how the concept of inflation grew to become dogma?

Neil Turok: Inflation was based mostly …



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