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Author Topic: Proof of Cosmic Inflation Discovered  (Read 1460 times)

Altair

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Proof of Cosmic Inflation Discovered
« on: March 17, 2014, 07:58:33 pm »
This is *big*.

Detection of Waves in Space Buttresses Landmark Theory of Big Bang

"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.

"In our own universe, it would serve as a window into the forces operating at energies forever beyond the reach of particle accelerators on Earth and yield new insights into gravity itself. Dr. Kovac’s ripples would be the first direct observation of gravitational waves, which, according to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, should ruffle space-time."

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/18/science/space/detection-of-waves-in-space-buttresses-landmark-theory-of-big-bang.html?_r=0
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Finn

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Re: Proof of Cosmic Inflation Discovered
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2014, 08:49:38 pm »
Quote from: Altair;142757
This is *big*.

Detection of Waves in Space Buttresses Landmark Theory of Big Bang

 
Ahh, I was just reading about this at the Bad Astronomer! So cool!!!
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SunflowerP

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Re: Proof of Cosmic Inflation Discovered
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2014, 09:55:45 pm »
Quote from: Finn;142763
Ahh, I was just reading about this at the Bad Astronomer! So cool!!!

Oh, good, now I know exactly where to look for more (I'd have found it anyway, since I have lots of astronomy links, but it saves hunting about) - the NYT article Altair linked was oversimplifying the science waaay too much (as mainstream news sources so often do, alas); I'm no cosmologist and appreciate a good layperson-level simplification, but mainstream media ones are seldom good. (On the flip side, simplifying to layperson level without becoming erroneous in the process is what Phil Plait does.)

It is, indeed, huge - potentially Nobel-level huge, if the NYT wasn't overstating the implications.

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« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 09:56:37 pm by SunflowerP »
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Dragonoake

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Re: Proof of Cosmic Inflation Discovered
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2014, 01:03:39 am »
Quote from: Altair;142757
This is *big*.


You're telling me; they've been looking for solid evidence of gravitational waves for decades  

http://www.space.com/25078-universe-inflation-gravitational-waves-discovery.html

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Re: Proof of Cosmic Inflation Discovered
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2014, 03:54:13 am »
Quote from: SunflowerP;142773
It is, indeed, huge - potentially Nobel-level huge, if the NYT wasn't overstating the implications.

 
After a few hours of reading some very excited physicists, I find that, for a change, it went the other direction: if anything, the NYT understated the implications (pending, of course, the requisite checking of methodology and confirmation of results, because How To Science).

Sky & Telescope's pre-announcement and post-announcement followup articles are excellent for providing a layperson-accessible explanation; for those who like reading what physicists look like when they're thrilled to bits, follow links in articles/comments (and more links from those articles/comments, etc; you know the drill, and if you're not back by Friday, we'll send a search party:)).

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RandallS

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Re: Proof of Cosmic Inflation Discovered
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2014, 08:26:52 am »
Quote from: SunflowerP;142808
Sky & Telescope's pre-announcement and post-announcement followup articles are excellent for providing a layperson-accessible explanation; for those who like reading what physicists look like when they're thrilled to bits....

Here's a direct link to the actual draft paper and the datasets for those who want the "raw science":

http://bicepkeck.org/

And yes, assuming the results are confirmed by others, this is very big: fairly direct evidence of both inflation and gravity waves.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 01:19:31 am by SunflowerP »
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beith

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Re: Proof of Cosmic Inflation Discovered
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2014, 12:12:36 pm »
Quote from: SunflowerP;142808
After a few hours of reading some very excited physicists, I find that, for a change, it went the other direction: if anything, the NYT understated the implications (pending, of course, the requisite checking of methodology and confirmation of results, because How To Science).

Sky & Telescope's pre-announcement and post-announcement followup articles are excellent for providing a layperson-accessible explanation; for those who like reading what physicists look like when they're thrilled to bits, follow links in articles/comments (and more links from those articles/comments, etc; you know the drill, and if you're not back by Friday, we'll send a search party:)).

Sunflower

 
Thank you so much for posting these links, Sunflower.  This is one of those events in science that I am so excited and happy to be living during.

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Re: Proof of Cosmic Inflation Discovered
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2014, 01:38:27 am »
Quote from: beith;142844
Thank you so much for posting these links, Sunflower.  This is one of those events in science that I am so excited and happy to be living during.

 
You're welcome! I do so much prefer to get my science news from people who have an actual grasp of science - preferably those who are good at 'translation for the layperson', but I've enough background (some from high school physics, most from autodidactic bootstrapping) that I can usually struggle through if they're not as good at that part.

Here's one from The One-Minute Astronomer (who is very good indeed at such translation) for those who found the S&T writeups too technical. Much better than the NYT's 'game of shells and peas, with coffeecups' graphic, which I thought was a not-very-good application of a not-very-good-to-begin-with metaphor.

Sunflower
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