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    Thread: Direct Evidence of Big Bang’s Gravitational Waves!!

    1. #1
      Member StephL's Avatar
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      Direct Evidence of Big Bang’s Gravitational Waves!!



      As part of his General Theory of Relativity, Einstein predicted that acceleration of large masses would cause waves to ripple through space in a manner analogous to ripples on the surface of a pond. Indirect evidence abounds for gravitational waves, but almost a century after Einstein predicted it direct evidence remained elusive
      The BICEP2 team says it has now identified that signal. Scientists call it B-mode polarisation.
      It is a characteristic twist in the directional properties of the Cosmic Microwave Background.
      Only the gravitational waves moving through the Universe in its inflationary phase could have produced such a marker. It is a true "smoking gun".

      At rare moments in scientific history, a new window on the universe opens up that changes everything.

      Yesterday was quite possibly such a day.

      Researchers believe they have found the signal left in the sky by the super-rapid expansion of space that must have occurred just fractions of a second after everything came into being.

      It takes the form of a distinctive twist in the oldest light detectable with telescopes.

      At a press conference on Monday 17th March 2014
      morning at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, a team of scientists operating a sensitive microwave telescope at the South Pole announced the discovery of polarization distortions in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, which is the observable afterglow of the Big Bang.

      The distortions appear to be due to the presence of gravitational waves, which would date back to almost the beginning of time.

      Theory holds that this would have taken the infant Universe from something unimaginably small to something about the size of a marble. Space has continued to expand for the nearly 14 billion years since.

      Inflation was first proposed in the early 1980s to explain some aspects of Big Bang Theory that appeared to not quite add up, such as why deep space looks broadly the same on all sides of the sky. The contention was that a very rapid expansion early on could have smoothed out any unevenness.

      But inflation came with a very specific prediction - that it would be associated with waves of gravitation, and that these ripples in the fabric of space would leave an indelible mark on the oldest light in the sky - the famous Cosmic Microwave Background.

      If verified, the find will dispel any lingering doubts about Relativity Theory, transform our understanding of the universe's beginning and provide astrophysicists with a new tool to probe the universe. The importance of the detection is hard to overstate.


      Prof John Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and a leader of the BICEP2 collaboration, said: "This is opening a window on what we believe to be a new regime of physics - the physics of what happened in the first unbelievably tiny fraction of a second in the Universe."

      The signal is reported to be quite a bit stronger than many scientists had dared hope. This simplifies matters, say experts. It means the more exotic models for how inflation worked are no longer tenable, and leaves non-inflationary versions completely on the outer.
      The results also constrain the energies involved - at 10,000 trillion gigaelectronvolts. This is consistent with ideas for what is termed Grand Unified Theory, the realm where particle physicists believe three of the four fundamental forces in nature can be tied together.

      But by associating gravitational waves with an epoch when quantum effects were so dominant, scientists are improving their prospects of one day pulling the fourth force - gravity itself - into a Theory of Everything.

      Other experiments will now race to try to replicate the findings. If they can, a Nobel Prize seems assured for this field of research.


      (^^That's also partly quotes)


      Quote Originally Posted by iflscience.com
      How inflation works
      Scientists use the word "inflation" to describe how the universe rapidly expanded after the Big Bang in a ripping-apart of space. The BICEP2 results are the "smoking gun for inflation," Marc Kamionkowski, professor of physics and astronomy, said at a news conference. Kamionkowski also was not involved in the project.

      Imagine that you are making a raisin bun, said Stanford physicist Kent Irwin, who worked on sensors and readout systems used in the experiment. As the dough bakes and expands, the distance from any given raisin to another increases.

      "Certainly everything in the universe that we see now, at one time before inflation, was smaller than an electron," Irwin said. "And then it expanded during inflation at faster than the speed of light."
      You may have learned in physics class that light sets the universe's speed limit, but space-time is an exception; it can stretch faster than the speed of light, Irwin said.

      Stanford University professor Andrei Linde, who helped develop the current inflation theory, said the new results are something he had hoped to see for 30 years.
      "If this is true, this is a moment of understanding of nature of such a magnitude that it just overwhelms and let's just hope that it's not a trick," Linde said in a university video interview.
      Another cool tidbit: Inflation can be used in theories that suggest the existence of multiple universes, Irwin said, although these results do not directly address such theories.

    2. #2
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      Simple, elegant but at the same time incredibly huge phenomenom. Something we humans can barely comprehend. I can not imagine the euphory that they must have felt when these scientists finally discovered what they where looking for. I refrain from trying to understand it fully because I expect more news to follow shortly.

      Wikipedia has changed though. Unfortunately. It used to say that the mechanism for inflation was a reversed black hole. Energy inflated the universe from another higher energy state. This all sounded cool as hell but I can't find the quote! >:3
      StephL likes this.

    3. #3
      Xei
      UnitedKingdom Xei is offline
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      It's pretty awesome. For one thing it's the final piece of evidence for General Relativity (Einstein predicted gravitational waves as long ago as 1916. We've only seen hints of them before; this observation is the clincher). For another, it demonstrates the validity of inflation, which was only a hypothesis up 'till now. We already knew the Big Bang was true; what physicists have done now is looked even deeper into the evidence to determine exactly what kind of Big Bang it was.

      It's pretty much the final nail in the coffin for the people who won't accept that the Big Bang is real. We already had solid evidence in redshift, and in the cosmic microwave background radiation, which is essentially like seeing a bright flash in a storm and deducing that there had recently been a lightning strike. What we're seeing now is like seeing a picture of the actual fork lightning and seeing what its exact shape is. Anybody still claiming there wasn't a lightning strike in the first place is therefore a bit barmy.
      StephL and dutchraptor like this.

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      Member StephL's Avatar
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      Wonderful metaphor, your lightning strike, Xei!
      smile.gif

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      Terminally Out of Phase Descensus's Avatar
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      Easily the nerdiest way to deliver the news that validates your life's work.

      "Congratulations it's 5 sigma at r = .2!"

      StephL likes this.
      The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended. - Frédéric Bastiat
      I try to deny myself any illusions or delusions, and I think that this perhaps entitles me to try and deny the same to others, at least as long as they refuse to keep their fantasies to themselves. - Christopher Hitchens
      Formerly known as BLUELINE976

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      Point 2!!
      Have I ordered something - yes I have - 30 years ago!
      Really super sweet - thanks for posting this!

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      I came around from a really weird angle - finding, how some radical feminists made stress within the atheist community - over a lot of stuff - to come across the above video once more here: Hey, Nobel Committee, Don't Leave Yet Another Deserving Lady Out | Care2 Causes

      While having a little bit of a beef with radical feminists - and not being able to judge the actual contribution of Mrs. Kallosh - it is definitively not nice to say the least, that her contribution doesn't get mentioned at all.
      The way she reacts at the door, when the news come in - you can clearly see, what it means to her - but not that it is about more than being his wife - just being happy for him, while working in another field altogether:

      What the video doesn’t make clear, however, is that Linde developed chaotic inflation with three other people, one of whom was in the room with him when he got the good news. That’s right; his wife, Renata Kallosh, is also an accomplished physicist and one of the developers of chaotic inflation.

      It’s extremely important that we don’t forget Kallosh’s contribution. This discovery has the stink of Nobel all over it. If it holds up to peer review and if other physicists can confirm the discovery, it’s almost assured a Nobel Prize. The question is who will get it. Let’s face it: the Nobel committee has a history of snubbing the women behind humanity’s most breathtaking discoveries.
      I love the video anyway - bit sad, though, this.

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      Been stumbling across Sir Penrose having other ideas about where this signal might originate: Sir Roger Penrose: Cosmic Inflation Is Fantasy

      He seems to say it is a leftover of magnetic fields from the universe/aeon before ours, postulating a string of aeons where the last feeds matter and magnetism into the next big bang and so on. Does this make sense?

    9. #9
      Terminally Out of Phase Descensus's Avatar
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      Read about this last month but forgot to post.

      Pump the brakes, folks: BICEP2 gravitational wave result bites the dust thanks to new Planck data - physicsworld.com
      StephL likes this.
      The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended. - Frédéric Bastiat
      I try to deny myself any illusions or delusions, and I think that this perhaps entitles me to try and deny the same to others, at least as long as they refuse to keep their fantasies to themselves. - Christopher Hitchens
      Formerly known as BLUELINE976

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