Nobel in Physics 2014 (?)

A spectacular discovery was announced a couple of days ago by the BICEP2 (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) telescope which is located at the South Pole with an aim to measure the polarisation of the cosmic microwave background (CMB).

They announced the observation of evidence for cosmic inflation to a statistical certainty of 3σ. Inflation is a period of extremely rapid expansion of the very early universe during which its volume increased by a factor of up to 1080 in a small fraction of a second. The way to understand what happened back then is to measure the remnants of that period, what we call today the CMB. The CMB was discovers by radio astronomers Penzias and Wilson (1978 Nobel Prize) and in the words of Dr. Torsten Enßlin:

The CMB is a snapshot of the oldest light in our Universe, imprinted on the sky when the Universe was just 380,000 years old. It shows tiny temperature fluctuations that correspond to regions of slightly different densities, representing the seeds of all future structure: the stars and galaxies of today.

BICEP2 finds first direct evidence of cosmic inflation [physicsworld]

Space Ripples Reveal Big Bang’s Smoking Gun [nytimes]

Here’s the reaction of Stanford Professor Andrei Linde, a theorist who is one of the main authors of the inflationary universe theory when he hears about the news:

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