Brainy Quote of the Day

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Five Sigma...

The 10-meter South Pole Telescope and the BICEP (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) Telescope against the Milky Way. BICEP2 recently detected gravitational waves in the cosmic microwave background, a discovery that supports the cosmic inflation theory of how the universe began. (Photo: Keith Vanderlinde, National Science Foundation)

The detection of gravitational waves by the BICEP2 experiment at the South Pole supports the cosmic inflation theory of how the universe came to be. The discovery, made in part by Assistant Professor Chao-Lin Kuo, supports the theoretical work of Stanford's Andrei Linde.

Almost 14 billion years ago, the universe we inhabit burst into existence in an extraordinary event that initiated the Big Bang. In the first fleeting fraction of a second, the universe expanded exponentially, stretching far beyond the view of today's best telescopes. All this, of course, has just been theory.

Researchers from the BICEP2 collaboration today announced the first direct evidence supporting this theory, known as "cosmic inflation." Their data also represent the first images of gravitational waves, or ripples in space-time. These waves have been described as the "first tremors of the Big Bang." Finally, the data confirm a deep connection between quantum mechanics and general relativity.

Stanford News:
New evidence from space supports Stanford physicist's theory of how universe began
Harvard Center for Astrophysics: First Direct Evidence of Cosmic Inflation

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