Home Forums Deep Time Journey Forum BREAKING NEWS: Evidence for Inflation (Big Bang)

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    • #2362 Reply

      I posted this originally on the Activity Stream but I want to post it in the Forum because it’s so important and people may way to comment on it. Below is the NYT article that first appeared on Monday, March 17 about the detection of waves in the cosmic background radiation bolstering the theory of inflation (Big Bang) developed by Alan Guth 35 years ago. It’s a smoking gun that scientists were looking for. This is HUGE NEWS!

    • #2363 Reply

      So moving to see scientists have their theories confirmed (or I should say bolstered, to be a bit more tentative). My son, who went to Stanford, just sent me this video of Andre Linde receiving the news about the gravitational waves detected in the cosmic background radiation, a smoking gun that bolsters the theory of inflation (Big Bang). Linde is the Harald Trap Friis Professor of Physics, Stanford. Other institutions are looking at the data to analyze its accuracy. More on that later.

      From wikipedia: Andrei Dmitriyevich Linde is one of the main authors of the inflationary universe theory, as well as the theory of eternal inflation and inflationary multiverse. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Moscow State University. In 1975, Linde was awarded a Ph.D. from the Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow. He worked at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) since 1989 and moved to the USA in 1990 where he became Professor of Physics at Stanford University. Among the various awards he’s received for his work on inflation, in 2002 he was awarded the Dirac Medal, along with Alan Guth of MIT and Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University. In 2004 he received, along with Alan Guth, the Gruber Cosmology Prize for the development of inflationary cosmology. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

      http://sploid.gizmodo.com/witness-the-joy-of-the-man-who-predicted-todays-big-ba-1545834924

    • #2370 Reply

      Had coffee with member Linda Fitch this morning at Chez Alice in Princeton,our usual haunt, and she gave me this link to an article about the Breaking News by Michael Lemonick in Time Magazine. Mike is a friend here in Princeton . . . have coffee with him too in the same coffee shop.

      http://time.com/24894/gravity-waves-expanding-universe/

    • #2736 Reply
      Karen Chaffee
      Participant

      I read the article word by word. It will take some time before I can, in my incomplete way, understand it.
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      An explanation of gravity waves is found in “The End of Physics’ by David Lindley. As pretty much an amateur, I have to read carefully to understand.
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      Lindley gives a nice image of gravity waves. If gravity is a heavy sphere on a the ‘mattress’ of spacetime, gravity waves are caused by movement of that massive sphere, causing undulations in the spacetime. Gravity waves have never been directly detected. They are far too weak. My understanding is that gravity waves until now have been inferred by the changes in energy of other radiation or systems.
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      On Wikipedia, it is stated that, as of early 2014, gravity waves have not been detected. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational-wave_detector.
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      The wiki article, however, goes on to report this March 2014 finding, calling the waves the ‘imprint of gravity waves’ in the ‘cosmic microwave background’ which, ‘if confirmed, would provide strong evidence for inflation.’
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      I’m confused about whether this is the actual first detection of gravity waves or not! (or whether it is an inference, based on the energy changes in the microwave radiation) (It interests me because I once wrote an (unpublished) sci fi book where a civilization does detect gravity waves–with their minds!) Honestly, I would have thought the _first actual detection of gravity waves_ would be much bigger news not in regard to inflation, but because their existence is postulated by general relativity.
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      A commenter on the NYT article said this, but is he right?
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      “To be completely correct gravity waves were not detected directly in this experimental result. What was detected was a small, but larger than expected, special polarization of the photons in the Cosmic Microwave Background. This polarization effect (think of polaroid sunglasses reducing light intensity) was predicted to occur by theories of Big Bang inflation which contained intense gravitational waves. So this is an indirect measurement of gravitational waves”
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      By the way, until last week, I had not truly understood cosmic microwave radiation and its significance (I knew others were excited, I just didn’t grasp the physics). However, in preparing for my ‘salon’ I read a number of books, among them, “A Universe From Nothing” by Lawrence Krauss (by the way, he is mentioned in the article.) I had to read most of the other science books I’d purchased slowly, line by line, attempting to understand them, but the Krauss book reads like a novel. He is a terrific science writer. If there is another person out there who doesn’t really understand ‘inflation’ or ‘cosmic microwave radiation’, I refer you to this book, and chapter 3, ‘light from the beginning of time’.
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      This same book has a chapter on Guth and inflation: chapter 6: the free lunch at the end of the universe.

    • #2738 Reply
      Karen Chaffee
      Participant

      If it is permissible to do so, I’ll paraphrase Krauss’s explanation of microwave background radiation here.

    • #2739 Reply
      Jennifer Morgan
      Participant

      Please do Karen!

    • #2740 Reply
      Jennifer Morgan
      Participant

      Dear Karen,

      Did you read the Michael Lemonick article on the same discovery. Michael is science writer on the Network.
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      Here’s the link on the Network.
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      https://dtnetwork.org/resource/cosmic-bulletins-two-major-discoveries-rock-science/
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      If you have specific questions, you could go to his profile and send him a private message.
      #
      Jennifer

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