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Detection of Waves in Space Buttresses Landmark Theory of Big Bang

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So excited for Alan Guth! They have found evidence of inflation!!!

It's a big breakthrough.

Scientific American's Clara Moskowitz writes "the signal is coming through much more strongly than expected, ruling out a large class of inflation models and potentially pointing the way toward new theories of physics, experts say."

Sean Carroll at the Preposterous Universe has more details on cosmic inflation.

Here's a simple explanation of the findings, from Nature News:

Big Bang

Here's the kind of data they were working with, this image of the cosmic microwave background radiation from the Plank telescope:plank universe map of cosmic background radiation

I needed the explanation, wow:

Scientists have found the first direct evidence that the universe expanded incredibly quickly in the microseconds after the Big Bang.

This is ground-breaking and Nobel-Prize-worthy research, if it is confirmed by other researchers. 

They found these signatures of cosmic inflation are gravitational waves in the cosmic microwave background radiation of our universe. Gravitational waves created by the Big Bang rippled through our infant universe during an explosive period of growth called inflation — when the universe expanded by 100 trillion trillion times, in less than the blink of an eye.

Actually, it's much quicker than a blink of an eye: Specifically, 10^-34 second, or a decimal point followed by 33 zeroes and a 1.

That inflation happened about 13.82 billion years ago, as the universe expanded from nothingness to the vastness of space as we see it today.

It's a discovery of a phenomena (prints indicating gravitational waves), but it's not a proof inflation is true, don't draw conclusions too fast.

Physics can't prove something is true, it can only say which models are more false than the others.

When only one model remains from this process, we call it "standard model", but this doesn't mean it is true, it's just the less false of all. And it will most likely be replaced by another in few decades or century.

For example, Newton's relativity was the standard model for 3 centuries. Experimental physicists proved it's false, and now Einstein's relativity is the standard model for astronomical scales, that's less than 1 century ago.

So this discovery will allow cosmologists to exclude some models that are incompatible with these prints, but it doesn't mean the models of inflation (Guth) that explains them, are true. : )

Ah, okay. But it does leave the models of inflation as the primary front runner now, right?

Yep it confirms inflation is a very solid model, it will make more people focus on developing it. And maybe a new model is going to emerge from it, because they are already things in the Plank results, that inflation model can't explain at the moment.

i love this stuff.  physics is mind blowing!

It's not just mind blowing -- our best theories are changing within our lifetime as scientists get more data.

Oce is one of those scientists, by the way.

wow.  so cool!  it also means all the stuff hawking has taught me still stands!

deep bow to you oce.  my grandfather was a nuclear physicist and i admired him greatly!

I'm not yet Adam, but I'm working on it. : P

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