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Scientists Get First Historic ‘Glimpse’ Of The Big Bang

BicepScientists today announced they have found evidence of strong “gravitational waves” that emerged in the aftermath of the Big Bang that could provide clues into the birth of the universe. Though the research presented requires further verification, many are optimistic that the results put forth today are accurate. The New Scientist reports: 

"No experiment should be taken too seriously until there's more than one that can vouch for it," says Alan Guth at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "But it does seem to me that this is a very reliable group and what they've seen is very definitive.

Marc Kamionkowski at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, is even more effusive. "This is the greatest discovery of the century," he says. "If it sticks, which I think it will, it's Nobel-prize material.”

The signal at the heart of the new research was detected by a special telescope set-up in the South Pole known as Bicep (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) that, as The Guardian points out, “scans the sky at microwave frequencies, where it picks up the fossil energy from the big bang.” 

EinsteinThe discovery is also significant in that if gravitational waves are found to exist it would prove “the last untested prediction of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity”:

"[Gravitational waves] are minuscule ripples in the fabric of the universe that carry energy across space, somewhat similar to waves crossing an ocean.

For decades, cosmologists have thought that the signature of primordial gravitational waves could be imprinted on this radiation. "It's been called the Holy Grail of cosmology," says Peiris, "It would be a real major, major, major discovery.” […]

According to theory, the primordial gravitational waves will tell us about the first, infinitessimal moment of the universe's history. Cosmologists believe that 10-34 seconds after the big bang (a decimal point followed by 33 zeros and a one) the universe was driven to expand hugely.

Known as inflation, the theory was dreamed up to explain why the universe is so remarkably uniform from place to place. But it has always lacked some credibility because no one can find a convincing physical explanation for why it happened."

Check out the full results from the scientists’ findings HERE. Warning: strong scientific language and graphic charts.

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Comments

  1. "Warning: strong scientific language and graphic charts."

    Cute. :-)

    Posted by: JJ | Mar 17, 2014 10:04:29 PM


  2. According to this and other articles, it is a double whammy. It killed two birds with one stone. It experimentally verified both the existence of gravitational wave and the inflation as proposed by Alan Guth mentioned above.

    Posted by: simon | Mar 17, 2014 11:01:29 PM


  3. Thanks so much for posting this! It's the reach of this website that thrills me the most...so delicious to go beyond the latest in drag queen high heels, which celebrity got a pimple and what the latest right wing-nut has said.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Mar 17, 2014 11:12:55 PM


  4. Of course of creationists are still not convinced. They don't need any scientific language and graphic charts to explain things.

    Posted by: simon | Mar 17, 2014 11:46:57 PM


  5. http://th.physik.uni-frankfurt.de/~jr/gif/phys/einst_6.jpg has a picture of Albert Einstein taken in 1912 - he published the paper describing his theory of gravity (general relativity) in 1915, so this picture is close to what he looked like at the time, not when he was much, much older.

    Posted by: Bill | Mar 18, 2014 12:08:05 AM


  6. Oh dear God the Bible thumping fanatics will go bonkers. As they should. Their entire belief system has just been blown out of the water. Ha ha!

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Mar 18, 2014 1:11:45 AM


  7. Thank you so much for posting news like this, Andy!
    I love it. Keep it coming.
    This is amazing. What a feat for mankind.

    Posted by: Marc | Mar 18, 2014 2:11:37 AM


  8. @Mike Ryan : why should the Bible thumpers go bonkers? Inflation was proposed several decades ago and the microwave background radiation was first measured in the 1960s (as a result of trying to figure out where an unexpected source of 'noise' was coming from in an experimental satellite communication system), and the specific way in which polarization varies suggests that gravity is in fact quantized, which is also a big deal.

    Posted by: Bill | Mar 18, 2014 3:03:43 AM


  9. I agree with UFFDA, although I look forward to Bryan Fischer's skewed take on this.

    Posted by: PeterNZ | Mar 18, 2014 3:26:32 AM


  10. First the Higgs Boson and now this. I agree that Andy Towle is a huge lovable geek and am grateful to have this signature material mixed in with the other eclectic content to start/end my day. Appreciate the warning, too.

    Posted by: Rob | Mar 18, 2014 4:26:11 AM


  11. Why don't the just give the Nobel to Duct Tape already? Without it, no science would have been done in the last century.

    Posted by: tomkitten | Mar 18, 2014 5:33:51 AM


  12. I don't know what that contraption in the first picture is supposed to be or do, but when I saw it, I thought it was the device that held Vivacious' hat/second head on in the first episode of RuPaul's Drag Race, season six.

    Posted by: tomkitten | Mar 18, 2014 5:37:24 AM


  13. if the bible-thumpers were smart (yeah, yeah, i know! impossible) they would gloam onto the nanoseconds BEFORE the big bang. at the least there could be an argument for a lab experiment by a 'designer' scientist (intelligent design) because how can you prove that there was 'nothing' before there was something? the argument could go on ad nauseum.....

    Posted by: mike/ | Mar 18, 2014 8:56:14 AM


  14. "Warning: strong scientific language and graphic charts."? Does this mean it's NSFW?? I know if I say "gluon" here in the office I'll get fired.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 18, 2014 11:59:10 AM


  15. @mike : the data suggests that a nanosecond is way too long. Also, the models do not assume there was "nothing". It's way too technical to go into in a comment, however.

    Posted by: Bill | Mar 18, 2014 2:09:58 PM


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