Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ripples In The Fabric Of Space-Time

Carmi's Thematic Photographic 286 is Technological. I'm not including any of my own pictures for this one because the science news is more spectacular than anything I could come up with. Here are the SPT and BICEP-2 telescopes in Antarctica:

Detection of Waves in Space Buttresses Landmark Theory of Big Bang
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — One night late in 1979, an itinerant young physicist named Alan Guth, with a new son and a year’s appointment at Stanford, stayed up late with his notebook and equations, venturing far beyond the world of known physics.

He was trying to understand why there was no trace of some exotic particles that should have been created in the Big Bang. Instead he discovered what might have made the universe bang to begin with. A potential hitch in the presumed course of cosmic evolution could have infused space itself with a special energy that exerted a repulsive force, causing the universe to swell faster than the speed of light for a prodigiously violent instant.
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On Monday, Dr. Guth’s starship came in. Radio astronomers reported that they had seen the beginning of the Big Bang, and that his hypothesis, known undramatically as inflation, looked right.

Reaching back across 13.8 billion years to the first sliver of cosmic time with telescopes at the South Pole, a team of astronomers led by John M. Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics detected ripples in the fabric of space-time — so-called gravitational waves — the signature of a universe being wrenched violently apart when it was roughly a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second old. They are the long-sought smoking-gun evidence of inflation, proof, Dr. Kovac and his colleagues say, that Dr. Guth was correct.
If the above article isn't clear, I'm sure this one will straighten everybody out.

UPDATE: A link for mikey, and a graphic suggested by feesh:

Cross-posted at Whiskey Fire. Mouse over pics for captions, and click them for larger versions.
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10 comments:

uhhh, mikey & shit said...

I know, right?

Gravitational Waves, Cosmic Inflation (Alan Guth has always been a hero of mine), gravitons...This is some exciting shit.

But then they always have to go off into LaLa Land with some "Multiverse" horseshit and it makes my face hurt...

Jim H. said...

'Repulsive force'? Hey, I resent that.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

So say we all, Jim H.!
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Alexia said...

Lala land? Tell me about it!
Today, staffroom, morning tea:
Some of my colleagues and I, most of whom are science teachers, had a wonderfully loud-and-excited "exchange of views" about this. We were astonished to find that some people around us have antediluvian ideas. They don't "believe in" global warming, and possibly also think the earth is flat.

Go Dr Guth - you rock!

Gilly said...

Thanks for that diagram - it made it easier to understand than one I had seen earlier! Great and fascinating news. I await further revelations with bated breath!

But why the Big Bang??

Gilly said...

Thanks for that diagram - it made it easier to understand than one I had seen earlier! Great and fascinating news. I await further revelations with bated breath!

But why the Big Bang??

fish said...

Waves in space? I can think of one very interested party.

Karen S. said...

As much as I enjoy your own photos, especially nature and dogs, this was a real brainy treat, and one that is causing many waves around the water coolers!

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

That is one awesome discovery.

Bob Scotney said...

I don't think I will tell my grandson about this. He's a surfer and would want to ride the wave.