2014 Astrophysics Laureate Biographies

The Kavli Prize - Astrophysics

Alan H. Guth

Alan H. Guth

A native of New Jersey, Alan Guth skipped his final year of high school to begin studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1964. Gaining his PhD in physics in 1971, he began a series of postdoctoral positions at Princeton, Columbia and Cornell universities and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. While at Cornell he began collaborating with colleague Henry Tye on the creation of magnetic monopoles in the early universe and it was this work which led to his proposal of an inflationary universe. He moved back to MIT in 1980 and has worked there ever since.

Guth continues to work on inflation, including the possibility of igniting inflation in a hypothetical laboratory to create a new universe and whether inflation is eternal – it’s always going on, somewhere in the universe.

Guth has been awarded the Franklin Medal for Physics, the Eddington Medal, the Isaac Newton Medal, the Dirac Prize and the Gruber Prize in Cosmology and has been elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Photo © Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Andrei D. Linde

Andrei D. Linde

Born in Moscow, Andrei Linde studied at Moscow State University and gained his PhD from the Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow in 1975. After a brief stay at CERN in Geneva, he moved to Stanford University in 1990 and he remains a professor there today.

During the 1970s, Linde worked on models of the early universe which contributed to Guth’s proposal of inflation in 1980. Linde later suggested modifications to Guth’s theory to overcome some of its shortcomings, creating what was called “new inflation.” Linde soon abandoned that too and put forward a new, more general theory – chaotic inflation – which encompasses most of the inflation scenarios being studied today. Linde has continued to push the boundaries of inflation theory, proposing ever more exotic and peculiar versions. At one stage he suggested that our universe could exist on the inside of a single magnetic monopole made huge by inflation.

Linde has received the Lomonosov Award from the Soviet Academy of Sciences, the Oskar Klein Medal, the Dirac Medal and the Gruber Prize in Cosmology. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Photo: © Linda A. Cicero / Stanford University

Alexei A. Starobinsky

Alexei A. Starobinsky

Born in Moscow, Alexei Starobinsky studied at Moscow State University and the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics in Chernogolovka near Moscow, gaining his PhD in 1975. Starobinsky has continued to work at the Landau Institute throughout his career and served as its deputy director from 1999 to 2003.

During the 1970s he studied particle creation in the early universe and from rotating black holes, work that led him to the theory of cosmological inflation. Later, along with colleagues, Starobinsky developed the theory of how quantum fluctuations in the early universe are blown up by inflation and provide the seeds of the large scale structure of the universe.

Starobinsky is a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and in 1996 received its Friedmann Prize. He has been the editor of numerous journals and has been awarded the Tomalla Prize, the Oskar Klein Medal and the Gruber Prize in Cosmology.

Photo: © Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics, RAS