"Infinite" inflation Hello all, I have a series of questions relating to the Big Bang and Inflation! First, a disclaimer: I am a science/astronomy/cosmology enthusiast, but I have no advanced education in the subjects. My knowledge is gleaned from as many books as I can read and shows I can watch on the subjects, so if I get something wrong, let me know. Terribly simplified, the laws of physics as they pertain to this question as I understand them are: 1: Energy = Mass, Multiplied by the square of the speed of light 2: Matter/Energy cannot be destroyed, only converted 3: For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction 4: Thermodynamics disallows infinite or perpetual systems 5: The fundamental forces, follow the inverse square law (...and a few others) My question is this: As I understand it, the violence of the "Big Bang" is responsible for cosmic inflation. The elementary particles that made up this early fireball were expanding at tremendous speeds away from each other. This, as I understand it, is the cause of inflation: the Big Bang produced so much energy that the universe will keep expanding. For the universe to continue to expand and not slow down, that would mean that the products of the Big Bang had reached "escape velocity" and would not slow down due to gravitational influence in the early universe. If the fundamental forces interact to cause matter to form from the elementary particles (some attracted, some repelled, some annihilated, etc), then does it follow that the fundamental forces would cause sufficient interaction on the elementary particles in sum to eventually cause the "Big Crunch"? Without the fundamental forces causing matter to coalesce, we wouldn't have stellar/galactic formation in the first place, right? Shouldn't the sum of those interactions over time be enough to act as "drag" to slow everything down to the point that it then begins to collapse again? Last, but not least... is it even possible for the Big Bang to produce enough energy to send elementary particles into "escape velocity" in the first place? I would expect that regardless of how energetic the Big Bang was, that it must also follow the law of Conservation of Energy; similar to a rocket, the energy that caused the inflation in the first place was finite: therefore, the ability for the particles to expand would be limited over time by their fundamental interactions with each other, unless continually acted upon by an outside force. Thus, if the energy of the Big Bang was sufficient to send the fundamental particles into escape velocity, wouldn't that mean matter would never coalesce in the first place? Hopefully some of you can put this in better light for me or tell me if I'm waaaaaaay off. Cheers!