Today’s NYT discusses how scientists saw evidence of the Big Bang, including the ballooning inflation right at the beginning ofthe universe’s expansion.

They “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.”


click for ginormous graphic
Big Bang

Source: NYT


Science, bitches. It works.

Category: Digital Media, Science

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9 Responses to “Big Bang Revealed”

  1. DrSandman says:

    Apropos of investing, let’s talk about risk/reward!

    Early in my physics career, the gravitational wave experiment was pointed out as an example of an experiment where grad students go to die. The setup: you begin the experiment, and then come back 10 years later. If you are lucky, you get to detect r>0 (i.e., gravity waves/inflation), and possibly collect (part of) a Nobel along the way. You probably won’t be that lucky, and you will publish a paper about nothing and slink away into adjunct professor hell.

    I mean, all the models KNEW it had to be so. But the risk of not finding the “correct” result was too large for most grad students to take. Kudos to the team.

  2. Well, this explains something I’ve always wondered about as it pertains to the 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.”

    Namely: where did the ingredients come from? I had mistakenly thought the Big Bang addressed the creation of the ONE universe, so now I understand it to be just one of many. Fascinating. Potentially infinitely so.

  3. willid3 says:

    so some thing can go faster than light?

    • RW says:

      Apparently something did, perhaps a lot of things — to the degree it could be said there were things sufficiently formed to be called things at all in that first burst of creation — but that does not mean it is still possible; i.e., beginnings are times of great possibility and doubtless nowhere as great as the dawn of creation but once a path becomes dominant other paths must close; the speed of light apparently became a boundary of the path chosen.

    • DrSandman says:

      Not necesarily. “Faster” implies a velocity, which is a measure of distance traveled from a reference point per unit time. What if space (i.e., distance) was not fully formed yet? (It wasn’t). What if time (essentially the 4th dimension in space-time, Minkowski-space) was not fully separated from the other dimensions that make up our known universe? (It wasn’t).

      So “faster” in this sense is meaningless, because both of the measures of velocity (or even speed, for that matter) did not yet exist. I don’t possess the math, and especially can’t explain it in a blog, but I have a feeling that once “space” and “time” is properly defined for the first few 1e-32 “seconds”, Einstein’s general relativity will still be correct.

  4. Livermore Shimervore says:

    Big Bang? Explaining the known universe down to a singular event? Reminds me of an overwhelmed toddler who tries to explain it all way by proclaiming “excuse me! someone pooped in my pants”.The more I hear about science the more I realize how little (microscopic) it explains relative to the whole story.

    • barbacoa666 says:

      They don’t. They narrow it down to a seemingly infinite number of events that finally result in us, here.

  5. barbacoa666 says:

    Interestingly enough, I’ve started seeing graphics posted to Facebook by my Evangelical friends saying, “I don’t care if you think I’m dumb, I believe in the Bible!” So maybe the war is being won.

  6. TheTruth says:

    Yet in Texas, Don Huffines, the Tea Party candidate for Republican state senator from Dallas wants to teach creationism in our public schools. Massive campaign donations from the wealthy extreme right wingers bought the election, and a reasonable and effective candidate was outvoted in last month’s primary.
    Things like this are causing more and more people to join efforts to overthrow the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.