In what is being described as "smoking gun" evidence for the Big Bang theory, researchers have detected a possible signal linked to the earliest moments of the universe’s history, mere moments after the universe itself was created.
The Big Bang theory holds that space and time and all the matter presently in existence originated from a single point, being expelled in a tremendously violent explosion, with the waves of creation inexorably fanning out, something which continues to this day. Of course, being more than 14 billion years in the past, such a possible event is extremely difficult to confirm, but it appears that scientists have made a “spectacular” breakthrough in this regard, possibly confirming the theory.
Researchers working on the BICEP2 program, using a telescope in the South Pole, were on the hunt for traces of what is termed as “inflation," the rapid expansion of the universe in its veritable infancy, that it is "first trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second."
Inflation was first proposed in the 1980s to help detail particular aspects of the Big Bang theory, but it hinged on the requirement that such a process would have been "associated" with gravitational waves and that these waves would in turn have an effect on the oldest light known as the Cosmic Microwave Background or CMB.
Now, according to the BICEP2 program, this very gravitational effect in the oldest light has been detected, in turn proving the theory of inflation, and by extension the Big Bang.
"This is spectacular. I"ve seen the research; the arguments are persuasive, and the scientists involved are among the most careful and conservative people I know," Professor Marc Kamionkowski of Johns Hopkins University told the BBC.
The signal detected, referred to as B-mode polarization, has demonstrated the theorized "twist" in the CMB, proving the inflation theory.
"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," Professor John Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and head of the BICEP2 program told a press conference.
Of course while it is already being said that this work is Nobel prize worthy, the work at hand will now be subject to intense peer review and scientist will even try to replicate the results.