What’s the difference between the “Big Bang” and “cosmic inflation”?


As far as I can tell, they both refer to the rapid expansion of the early universe. What’s the difference, then?

In: Physics

Big bang was first. Cosmic inflation was a period of time after the big bang when the Universe grew from the size of a proton to the size of a softball almost instantly….way faster than the speed of light.

The wikipedia page on cosmic inflation makes a pretty clear distinction between the big bang singularity, an instantaneous appearance of “stuff” and the inflation of space in the short time following.

They’re both distinct stages of early universe theory. They sort of go together (it’s hard to imagine inflation without a big bang, and vice versa)