Story 2014-03-19 3GB Ripples in Gravitational Waves May Confirm Big Bang and Expansion Theory

Ripples in Gravitational Waves May Confirm Big Bang and Expansion Theory

in science on (#3GB)
Scientists working with the powerful BICEP (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) telescopes at the South Pole may have just discovered evidence of the Big Bang Theory that has been sought since the 1970s . Observing the light of 13.8 billion years ago, the team of astronomers, led by John Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, have detected gravitational waves (ripples in the fabric of space-time).

These gravitational waves have long been theorized but never observed, and provide strong evidence of a theory of cosmology called Inflation , in which the Big Bang led to an instantaneous inflation of the universe and expansion at speeds that surpass the speed of light. Astrophysicists have been trying to find convincing evidence of the theory for 35 years.

Says the New York Times, "If corroborated, Dr. Kovac's work will stand as a landmark in science comparable to the recent discovery of dark energy pushing the universe apart, or the Big Bang itself." They add:
Confirming inflation would mean that the universe we see, extending 14 billion light-years in space with its hundreds of billions of galaxies, is only an infinitesimal patch in a larger cosmos whose extent, architecture and fate are unknowable. Moreover, beyond our own universe there might be an endless number of other universes bubbling into frothy eternity, like a pot of pasta water boiling over.
We live in amazing times.
Reply 3 comments

That is interesting.. (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2014-03-19 12:24 (#P4)

I was watching a program a few weeks ago which talked about inflation being one of the multiple competing theories vying for title of the "current best theory", it's good to see that they have been able to get some solid proof to support it.

Re: That is interesting.. (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2014-03-19 13:16 (#P7)

The article references, towards the end, one of the proponents of a competing theory, who is gracious and congratulatory, but somewhat skeptical, as you'd expect from a scientist. He's looking forward to more data that confirms the theory. I found myself thinking about this all night: what an amazing discovery, if it holds. What's the name of that theory where the universe is going to expand out to some point, then collapse, then reemerge like a bubble that inverts itself, constantly rebirthing the universe? I like that theory, because I love the idea of a periodic crash-and-burn.

Re: That is interesting.. (Score: 1)

by on 2014-03-19 16:54 (#PH)

I actually really liked the multiverse one, where it was bubbles containing the universe popping into and out of existence, the math on all of them is way over my head though.