Gravity waves and the Big Bang theory - New York News

Gravity waves and the Big Bang theory

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"Can we figure out how the universe began and where it all came from?"

It might be an ordinary question, but the man asking it -- Alan Guth -- is considered extraordinary in the world of science. He has devoted his life to its answer, trying to figure out exactly how our universe began.

35 years after Guth first posed the question, the Highland Park, N.J., native and MIT professor just got some serious validation for his theory.

"There was no way of knowing if these B-modes that were found were capable of being found at all," he said.

Those B-modes, explained by Guth as polarized light or gravity waves, were in fact just found by Harvard astrophysicist Dr. John Kovac and his team working at the South Pole.

Theoretical physicist Dr. Mark Wyman explained that the science world was waiting for news like this for so long.

"It was a hope that we all had that universe had been at such a hot point that you can make gravitational waves that could be seen by observatories," he said.

That hope has now been realized.

Dating back nearly 14 billion years, those gravity waves are important for two reasons: 1) They've never been seen before; and 2) The waves validate Guth's theory of inflation.

"Inflation is a process which we think took place in the very early universe, which is in some sense the bang of the Big Bang," Guth said.

Guth has theorized that right after the Big Bang, the universe started to expand, or inflate, at roughly one-trillionth of one-trillionth of one-trillionth of one second, faster than one could ever imagine.

And news of the discovery of those gravitational waves is something Guth admits he never imagined he'd get in his lifetime.

"Finding out they were seen and seen very clearly was just fantastic news," he said.

That news already has Guth's name mentioned in the same sentence as Nobel Prize.

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