Tegmark's essay was not well received (perhaps Godfrey didn't like it? :-) )
How did it all begin?
Authors: Max Tegmark
Comments: 6 pages, 6 figs, essay for 2005 Young Scholars Competition in
honor of Charles Townes; received Dishonorable Mention
How did it all begin? Although this question has undoubtedly lingered for as
long as humans have walked the Earth, the answer still eludes us. Yet since
my grandparents were born, scientists have been able to refine this question
to a degree I find truly remarkable. In this brief essay, I describe some of
my own past and ongoing work on this topic, centering on cosmological
inflation. I focus on
(1) observationally testing whether this picture is correct and
(2) working out implications for the nature of physical reality (e.g., the
global structure of spacetime, dark energy and our cosmic future, parallel
universes and fundamental versus environmental physical laws).
(2) clearly requires (1) to determine whether to believe the conclusions. I
argue that (1) also requires (2), since it affects the probability
calculations for inflation's observational predictions.