Big Bang essentially confirmed with groundbreaking discovery

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> Mar 17 - Big Bang essentially confirmed with groundbreaking discovery - Photo posted in BX Daily Bugle - news and headlines | Sign in and leave a comment below!

This is big news: Astronomers have announced that they have seen, for the first time, direct evidence of “inflation” in the extremely early Universe, unlocking an entire chapter in the history of the cosmos. It also ties together relativity and quantum mechanics in a deep and profound way, which has never been done before.

This news is very important, and very interesting. However, it’s also very esoteric–probably the most layered and complex announcement I’ve ever written about. It’s not like the Higgs boson, which could at least be summed up in a sentence or two. But this new work unveils a critical point in the history of the Universe, and has profound implications for physics.

We know the Universe is expanding; everywhere we look, it appears that galaxies are rushing away from us. If we run the clock backwards, this means the Universe was smaller in the past, and at some point must have had (nearly) zero volume. This point in time is commonly referred to as the Big Bang, when the expansion of the Universe started. 13.82 billion years later, here we are.

But a lot happened in the intervening time, and a lot of it happened at a teeny tiny fraction of a second after the First Moment. One of these things was inflation.

Inflation is a bit of a mind-bender, I’ll admit. It started just about 10-35 or so seconds after the bang. To give you a better idea of how short a time interval that is, we’re talking 0.00000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds! And it only lasted until about 10-32 or so seconds later, so it was incredibly brief by human standards. But in such fleeting moments are Universes forged.

During that period, for reasons that are still not clear, the Universe underwent a kind of hyperexpansion. Instead of simply cruising along, getting bigger with time as it does now, the expansion accelerated. Hugely. Hugely hugely. Some models show it increased in size by a factor of 1050 (some say even more)—that’s 10 trillion trillion trillion trillion times bigger, all in a timeframe so small that analogies fail me.

Like I said, inflation is a mind-bender.

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