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One step closer to proving Big Bang theory

One step closer to proving Big Bang theory
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It is being described as the ‘Holy Grail’ of cosmology.

Scientists in the United States believe they have identified an echo of so-called gravitational waves – signals left in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang, when the Universe came into existence some 14 billion years ago.

Using a telescope at the South Pole designed to measure the cosmic background radiation left over from the Big Bang, they found evidence of the existence of gravitational waves – colossal ripples that pervade today’s universe and which were formed at its very beginning.

“This detection is cosmology’s missing link, it’s something we thought should be there, but we weren’t really sure and it’s been eagerly sought now for close to two decades,” said theoretical physicist theoretical physicist Marc Kamionkowski.

Albert Einstein first predicted the existence of gravitational waves a century ago in his theory of general relativity.

But, until now, none of the numerous elaborate experiments designed to measure them had borne fruit

The implications are profound. According to scientists, the existence of gravitational waves provides conclusive evidence for the much-debated theory of cosmic inflation – a sudden and colossal expansion of the universe thought to have occurred in the first minuscule fraction of a second after the Big Bang.

“The observable universe grew from the size of an atom to the size of a basketball in an enormously small fraction of a second. The theory of cosmic inflation, something that had been hypothesized for 30 years, and now here is a direct prediction made by that theory that has been confirmed,” explained astrophysicist Mordecai-Mark Mac Low.

The race is now on to try to replicate the findings.

If confirmed, they are likely to win the team who discovered them a Nobel Prize for physics.