I'm trying to track down the origin of the False Vacuum paradigm. Is it Coleman and de Luccia's "Gravitational Effects on and of Vacuum Decay" https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevD.21.3305


2 Answers 2


There are earlier references - I have a copy of "The Fate of the False Vacuum" by Sid Coleman in a collection of reprints. I don't know if this is the earliest reference though.

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    $\begingroup$ This is the original reference, it's Coleman's great idea. He was one step away from inflation, and was a little bitter later that he didn't discover inflation himself "because he didn't consider gravitational effects". That's not entirely accurate, he does note that one should consider gravitational effects, and Guth (although not Starobinsky) used this paper as his starting point. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Maimon
    Sep 7, 2012 at 15:17
  • $\begingroup$ thanks Twist and Ron, and if anyone else is looking I found an original scan at ccdb5fs.kek.jp/cgi-bin/img_index?197703088 $\endgroup$
    – metzgeer
    Sep 8, 2012 at 0:34

The earliest bubble-tunneling vacuum decay paper that I know of is

Bubbles in Metastable Vacuum I.Yu. Kobzarev, L.B. Okun, M.B. Voloshin (Moscow, ITEP) Oct 1974 - 16 pages

Sov.J.Nucl.Phys. 20 (1975) 644-646 Yad.Fiz. 20 (1974) 1229-1234 ITEP-81-1974.

I have also to blow my own trumpet a bit and claim that I independently came up with vacuum-decay bubbles in

"Lifetime and decay of excited vacuum" states of a field theory associated with nonabsolute minima of its effective potential" M. Stone Physical Review D 14 (12), (1976) 3568

Because I used Sidney's bozonization trick I sent him a copy of this paper and I think that that was what got him thinking about the general case.

My more general bubble-tunneling paper

"Semiclassical methods for unstable states" M. Stone Physics Letters B 67 (2), (1977) 186-188

was submitted in Nov 1976 two months before Sidney's "Fate of the false vacuum" paper (Jan 1977). Sidneys paper was better titled, much better-written, and more comprehensive than mine though, and deserves its fame.

There are no gravitational effects I think before Coleman and De Luccia.


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