Professor Stephen Hawking was professor of mathematics at the University of Cambridge. Image credit: NASA/Paul E. Alers
Professor Stephen Hawking’s last ever theory of the origin of the universe, in collaboration with Professor Thomas Hertog from KU Leuven in Belgium, has recently been published. The theory was submitted before the death of Professor Hawking and uses string theory to predict a much simpler version of our current universe, compared to other theories surrounding the events after the Big Bang.
Professor Hertog first announced the theory at a conference at the University of Cambridge, England in July 2017. This event was organised as a celebration of Professor Hawking’s 75th birthday.
Modern theories surrounding the Big Bang suggest that our local universe is the result of a brief, but enormous, burst of inflation. This brief burst lasted for a fraction of a second – quicker than it takes you to blink your eye – and the universe expanded at an exponential rate. It is commonly accepted that once inflation starts, in some regions it never stops. Quantum mechanics could cause inflation to be ongoing forever in certain regions in the universe, making global inflation eternal. The part of the universe we can ...