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Stephen Hawking’s (Almost) Last Paper: Putting an End to the Beginning of the Universe

The Journal of High Energy Physics published his last work in cosmology — the science of how the universe sprang into being and evolved. (Other papers on black holes are still being prepared.) In the new paper, Hawking and Thomas Hertog, a theoretical physicist at the Catholic University of Leuven (KU) in Belgium, attempt to stick a pin in a bizarre concept called eternal inflation, which implies — unavoidably, according to some physicists — that our universe is just one of infinitely many in a multiverse. Borrowing a concept from string theory, Hawking and Hertog argue that there is no eternal inflation and only one universe. But what they’re driving at is something even more basic: They’re claiming that our universe never had a singular moment of creation.

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