Have US Scientists Heard Echoes of the Big Bang?


#1

Wow. Nobel Prize-worthy. The brains of these physicists are amazing. Einstein would be jumping up and down. Who would have thought only 100 years ago something like this would be possible?

Gravitational waves: have US scientists heard echoes of the big bang?
Discovery of gravitational waves by Bicep telescope at south pole could give scientists insights into how universe was born.
Primordial gravitational waves would provide evidence of inflation in the moments after the big bang

Stuart Clark
The Guardian, Friday 14 March 2014 11.33 EDT

There is intense speculation among cosmologists that a US team is on the verge of confirming they have detected “primordial gravitational waves” – an echo of the big bang in which the universe came into existence 14bn years ago.

Rumours have been rife in the physics community about an announcement due on Monday from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. If there is evidence for gravitational waves, it would be a landmark discovery that would change the face of cosmology and particle physics.

Gravitational waves are the last untested prediction of Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. They are minuscule ripples in the fabric of the universe that carry energy across space, somewhat similar to waves crossing an ocean. Convincing evidence of their discovery would almost certainly lead to a Nobel prize.

“If they do announce primordial gravitational waves on Monday, I will take a huge amount of convincing,” said Hiranya Peiris, a cosmologist from University College London. “But if they do have a robust detection … Jesus, wow! I’ll be taking next week off.”

The discovery of gravitational waves from the big bang would offer scientists their first glimpse of how the universe was born.

The signal is rumoured to have been found by a specialised telescope called Bicep (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) at the south pole. It scans the sky at microwave frequencies, where it picks up the fossil energy from the big bang.

For decades, cosmologists have thought that the signature of primordial gravitational waves could be imprinted on this radiation. “It’s been called the Holy Grail of cosmology,” says Peiris, “It would be a real major, major, major discovery.”

Martin Hendry at the University of Glasgow works on several projects designed to directly detect gravitational waves. “If Bicep have made a detection,” he says, “it’s clear that this new window on the universe is really opening up.”

According to theory, the primordial gravitational waves will tell us about the first, infinitessimal moment of the universe’s history. Cosmologists believe that 10-34 seconds after the big bang (a decimal point followed by 33 zeros and a one) the universe was driven to expand hugely.

Known as inflation, the theory was dreamed up to explain why the universe is so remarkably uniform from place to place. But it has always lacked some credibility because no one can find a convincing physical explanation for why it happened.

Now researchers may be forced to redouble their efforts. “The primordial gravitational waves have long been thought to be the smoking gun of inflation. It’s as close to a proof of that theory as you are going to get,” says Peiris. This is because cosmologists believe only inflation can amplify the primordial gravitational waves into a detectable signal.

“If a detection has been made, it is extraordinarily exciting. This is the real big tick-box that we have been waiting for. It will tell us something incredibly fundamental about what was happening when the universe was 10-34 seconds old,” said Prof Andrew Jaffe, a cosmologist from Imperial College, London, who works on another telescope involved in the search called Polarbear.

But extracting that signal is fearsomely tricky. The microwaves that carry it must cross the whole universe before arriving at Earth. During the journey, they are distorted by intervening clusters of galaxies.

“It’s like looking at the universe through bubbled glass,” said Duncan Hanson of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, who works on the South Pole Telescope, a rival that sits next to Bicep.

He said the distortion must be removed in a convincing way before anyone can claim to have made the detection. The prize for doing that, however, would be the pinnacle of a scientific career. “The Nobel Prize would be for the detection of the primordial gravitational waves.”

“Yeah, I would give them a prize,” said Jaffe.

The announcement will be made on Monday at 4pm GMT

theguardian.com/science/2014/mar/14/gravitational-waves-big-bang-universe-bicep

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#2

Yes, physicists always get excited about things like gravitational waves. They may need a glass of wine to settle down. But they’ll have to call in the engineers if they want to construct a wormhole to go back to a point where they can observe the big bang a little closer.

As to the theory of inflation, well, I have to believe what the physicists say, but it seems like something they had to make up just to explain how the universe got to be like it is today. I mean, l complain about the Fed, but the inflation they have in mind is 1000 times worse.


#3

How amazing,
I think it can prove how old universe is; I knew that this can prove nothing besides how old universe is.


#4

I think human never can prove how the universe got to be like it is today; I think human can never prove the Original source that even how big bang happened and before that, it even possible many advance life exist --not human ---- then everything suddenly all destroyed-- big pang–This is just I guess-- But who really caused big bang? Everything all have original. Everything can not come from nothing.


#5

No.

:nope:


#6

I really don’t understand how people can deny science. It continually shows us more and more about the glory of the works of God.


#7

Amen.


#8

I’m a bit rusty, but isn’t 2-3% of the static seen on a TV (if you remember the ancient days of over the air reception anyway) leftover background radiation from the Big Bang?

A gentleman from MIT once shared “sound” of a black hole (x-rays converted into audio) that was quite stupefying in it’s power.

Perhaps one day we will hear the birth pangs of the universe with our ears as well?


#9

That is essentially what Giordano Bruno said and we all know how that ended.


#10

Well, there was more to that than his scientific views. I don’t expect to be burned at the stake. :smiley:


#11

:slight_smile: I think human science never can see how the universe got to be like it is today; I knew that human can observe and learn from nature, like cut tree and see tree circles to know how old tree is, but from already firmed things science can never see through to see the original of everything. Like when Pizza already firmed and cooked, you can see pizza but you can not from pizza to see original flour powder-- for too many things happened flour powder plus water and yeast and adding and put in oven and heat then come out pizza, when pizza firmed you can see pizza and can not see flour powder any-more. Human only can learn from nature, Science like Mathematics are human observe and learn from nature find rules and proved by many peoples, if find mistake then do changes, so Science like Mathematics always properly. But science can never see the original of everything.


#12

Well, science can make great strides in this regard. Nature is not wholly opaque. It can be studied, and inferences can be made. It was a Bell Labs scientist trying to eliminate static who made the first discovery of background radiation left over from the Big Bang.

Science cannot go beyond the big bang to observe what preceded it, if anything, because the event was a singularity, and singularities are opaque to observation, just like we can’t observe what happens beyond the event horizon of a black hole.


#13

:)O Jim, Human can always learn from nature; still which one we like learn first, Biology or Quantum Physics or-- ? I have thought Biology might be we should learn first can know how life and body working in order. Bless God praise the Lord! Oh, dear Brothers Sisters, think that one day we will have super power when new heavens and new earth comes.


#14

When scientists do hear the echoes of the Big Bang, will they sound something like, “Let there be . . . be . . . be . . .”?


#15

Good, maybe this news will finally make the literal creationists crawl back into the holes from where they came from


#16

I think it’s wise to never say never.
Science is constantly shocking people by accomplishing feats we “never” thought possible. But if the scientists themselves thought that way, we’d never make advances!
You are putting limitations on Science and the human mind that you do not know for sure are there.

Haven’t you ever heard the phrase: “Anything’s possible!” ?

.


#17

Here’s the update today…in The New Yorker Magazine online.
It makes my head spin!:

March 17, 2014
A Scientific Breakthrough Lets Us See to the Beginning of Time
Posted by Lawrence Krauss

At rare moments in scientific history, a new window on the universe opens up that changes everything. Today was quite possibly such a day. At a press conference on Monday 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.

This observation, made possible by the fact that gravitational waves can travel unimpeded through the universe, takes us to 10-35 seconds after the Big Bang. By comparison, the Cosmic Microwave Background—which, until today, was the earliest direct signal we had of the Big Bang—was created when the universe was already three hundred thousand years old.

If the discovery announced this morning holds up, it will allow us to peer back to the very beginning of time—a million billion billion billion billion billion times closer to the Big Bang than any previous direct observation—and will allow us to explore the fundamental forces of nature on a scale ten thousand billion times smaller than can be probed at the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator. Moreover, it will allow us to test some of the most ambitious theoretical speculations about the origin of our observed universe that have ever been made by humans—speculations that may first appear to verge on metaphysics. It might seem like an esoteric finding, so far removed from everyday life as to be of almost no interest. But, if confirmed, it will have increased our empirical window on the origins of the universe by a margin comparable to the amount it has grown in all of the rest of human history. Where this may lead, no one knows, but it should be cause for great excitement.

Even for someone who has been thinking about these possibilities for the past thirty-five years, the truth can sometimes seem stranger than fiction. In 1979, a young particle physicist named Alan Guth proposed what seemed like an outrageous possibility, which he called Inflation: that new physics, involving a large extrapolation from what could then be observed, might imply that the universe expanded in size by over thirty orders of magnitude in a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, increasing in size by a greater amount in that instance than it has in the fourteen billion years since.

…etc, etc…(deleted paragraphs for length)

If it turns out to be confirmed by other experiments, think about what this discovery implies for our ability to explore the universe (besides the other remarkable implications for physics): when we use light to look out at the distant universe, we can only see back as far as three hundred thousand years after the Big Bang, when the universe cooled sufficiently to become transparent to light. But gravitational waves interact so weakly that even waves produced less than 10-35 seconds after the Big Bang can move through space unimpeded, giving us a window on the universe at essentially the beginning of time.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and the current result is in some tension with earlier claimed upper limits from other experiments, so we will need to wait for the results of a host of other experiments currently operating that can check this result.

For some people, the possibility that the laws of physics might illuminate even the creation of our own universe, without the need for supernatural intervention or any demonstration of purpose, is truly terrifying. But Monday’s announcement heralds the possible beginning of a new era, where even such cosmic existential questions are becoming accessible to experiment.

*Lawrence M. Krauss is a theoretical physicist and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University. His most recent book is “A Universe From Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing.” *

newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2014/03/a-scientific-breakthrough-lets-us-see-to-the-beginning-of-time.html


#18

Forgive me if this has already been posted …
didn’t read the whole thread and just skimmed, but did you know that a Catholic priest theorized the “big bang”?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lema%C3%AEtre

[quote]Georges Lemaître

[/quote]

PS:
Also not only may scientists have heard echoes of it, but apparently astronomers may be claiming they’ve seen it:

foxnews.com/science/2014/03/17/major-discovery-smoking-gun-for-big-bang-expansion-found/?intcmp=features

[quote]Scientists find cosmic ripples from birth of universe

[/quote]

Except that they do still leave room for God, it behooves me how they tacked on the expansion thing that states something like that the stars, planets and galaxies were formed from the primordial matter in a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second some 400 million years later requiring several times the speed of light I think. :eek:

A scientist major friend of mine in another forum claims the expansion add on is valid.
However, my wording may not be accurate though. :shrug:

rex


#19

:rotfl:


#20

Yes, I knew that!
He was an astronomer, cosmologist, and physics professor.
I read about him last week…he had such a brilliant mind.

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