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.

Comments

  1. simon says

    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.

  2. UFFDA says

    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.

  3. Bill says

    @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.

  4. Rob says

    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.

  5. tomkitten says

    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.

  6. mike/ says

    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…..

  7. anon says

    “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.

  8. Bill says

    @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.

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