“Big Bang” Gravitational Waves: More Proof For InflationBy: Tina Volpe - March 18, 2014
For those that had doubts that there actually was a big explosion (big bang) in which our universe was born, there is more proof to support the theory.
Although, there really isn’t a method for us to know precisely what happened 13.8 billion years ago, but scientists announced Monday a breakthrough in getting closer to supporting the big bang inflation theory.
If this discovery passes all of the scrutiny by other scientists and physicists, on how the universe expanded in less than a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang, we might just be more certain.
“It teaches us something crucial about how our universe began,” said Sean Carroll, a physicist at California Institute of Technology, who was not involved in the study. “It’s an amazing achievement that we humans, doing science systematically for just a few hundred years, can extend our understanding that far.”
What’s more, researchers discovered direct evidence for the first time of what Albert Einstein predicted in his general theory of relativity: Gravitational waves.
These are essentially ripples in space-time, which have been thought of as the “first tremors of the Big Bang,” according to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
These waves that were thought (and known) to exist were seen by BICEP2 – Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization 2 at America’s Amundsen-Scott Station- in the South Pole. It picked up the polarization of light left over from the early universe – which led to the proof many scientists have been searching for, but Einstein predicted.
“This is huge,” says Marc Kamionkowski, professor of physics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, who was not involved in the discovery but who predicted back in 1997 how these gravitational wave imprints could be found. “It’s not every day that you wake up and find out something completely new about the early universe. To me this is as Nobel Prize–worthy as it gets.”
They were described by physicists as ‘spectacular’ and ‘bigger than the Higgs boson’, the discovery provides the strongest evidence yet – that the universe went through a period of rapid inflation after the Big Bang.
“Other than finding life on other planets or directly detecting dark matter, I can’t think of any other plausible near-term astrophysical discovery more important than this one for improving our understanding of the universe,” Caltech theoretical physicist Sean Carroll said on his blog.
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