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.