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Gravity Waves from Big Bang Seen?

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George, is it not you that has introduced the word ‘cause’?  Is it not you that has then taken that word and extended it to produce an accusation that members here are discussing ‘first cause’?      A

The Guardian has an article that speculates that evidence will be announced on Monday for gravity wave produced just after the Big Bang, http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/mar/14/gravitational-wa

I heard the Daily Mail had announced that "gravity waves from the big frack would cause costal erosion and be bad for house prices"....meanwhile the Chancellor has said that this proves "inflation is

Have just been sent this link from my sister in law  :smiley:

A major “discovery" or “bound" will be announced regarding first ever detection of primordial stochastic gravitational waves from BICEP-2 CMB telescope. Kindly find

> the details below.

 Dear friends and colleagues,


> We invite you to join us tomorrow *(Monday, 17 March)* for a special

> webcast presenting the first results from the BICEP2 CMB telescope.  The

> webcast will begin with a presentation for scientists 10:45-11:30 EDT,

> followed by a news conference 12:00-1:00 EDT.


> You can join the webcast from the link at

>      http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/news_conferences.html

> You can join the webcast from the link at
>      http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/news_conferences.html


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Excellent. Thanks for the link.

Yes, excellent link. At this link, there is link


to an October 2013 Sky and Telescope article about how gravity waves polarize scattered radiation from the cosmic background radiation in a specific way, and about various projects that hope to detect this.

Slightly more technical, but with nice figures:


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From the BBC -

Scientists say they have extraordinary new evidence to support a Big Bang Theory for the origin of the Universe.

Researchers believe they have found the signal left in the sky by the super-rapid expansion of space that must have occurred just fractions of a second after everything came into being.

It takes the form of a distinctive twist in the oldest light detectable with telescopes.

The work will be scrutinised carefully, but already there is talk of a Nobel.

"This is spectacular," commented Prof Marc Kamionkowski, from Johns Hopkins University.

"I've seen the research; the arguments are persuasive, and the scientists involved are among the most careful and conservative people I know," he told BBC News.

The breakthrough was announced by an American team working on a project known as BICEP2.


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This is all very well, but what/who started

In terms of what started Inflation, all that is needed is some vacuum, provided that vacuum has energy. That's not as ridiculous as it sounds, as even vacuum in our local universe possesses a small amount of energy. The idea is that high-energy vacuum transitioned from a higher energy state into a lower one, releasing energy which expanded and cooled enough to allow matter to form.

Theoretically speaking, this process is probably still happening somewhere, it's thought that our local universe is part of a multiverse. It's a sensible hypothesis, but I have no idea how something like that could be tested - it's not like we can go look.

If Inflation Theory is correct we have a good understanding of how a universe can arise out of 'nothing', but where did the nothing come from? How many layers of the onion are left to unpeel, and how many can we unwrap? Ultimately, we are likely to get stuck at some point.

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I heard the Daily Mail had announced that "gravity waves from the big frack would cause costal erosion and be bad for house prices"....meanwhile the Chancellor has said that this proves "inflation is a fact"...

The (Manchester) Guardian reference reminds me of the line in Arthur C Clarke's "Prelude to Space"* - "why ever would anyone want to guard Manchester..."

* British pipe-smoking scientists beat America to the moon with a nuclear ramjet sensibly launched from the middle of an unprotesting Australian colony (there is a token protester, but he is an accountant/"loony"/Daily Mail reader who crawls into the jet and gets his just desserts)


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This is all very well, but what/who started

Nature doesn't have to do what we think is reasonable.

Assuming that something or someone had to start things is just one of those human assumptions. I suspect that such assumptions arise in part from language itself, in which verbs have subjects. Note the curious expression 'It is raining.' But what is raining?  We just can't cope, linguistically, without a subject for a verb. This filters unconsciously into the way we see things. Actions have doers. However, for all that I try to take this on board I can make more sense of the multiverse than the universe because I don't like creation ex nihilo any more than most people do.


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It may just be one of those unanswerable questions. Either the universe doesn't have a cause, or there is an infinite chain of causality (what caused-the-cause-that-caused-the-cause-that-caused-the universe to come into being, and so on). It's beyond me to make sense of either option.

We do pretty well with our little monkey brains. If the BICEP2 readings are corroborated - and I'd urge a little caution on this until the paper is picked apart and some independent observations are available, I believe the Planck data is still being analysed - we can reasonably claim to have a cosmological theory that takes us from the a tiny fraction of a second after 'creation' to the present day. Of course, there are some major pieces missing from this puzzle (dark matter and dark energy), but all we can do is keep looking and see where that takes us. If these findings are correct Alan Guth will certainly be receiving my monkey-brain-of-the-month award, surely more prestigious than any Nobel prize.

Edited by Knight of Clear Skies
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It may just be one of those unanswerable questions. 


If the BICEP2 readings are corroborated


I believe the Planck data is still being analysed -

KofCS raises a good caveat !

APOD today (Tue 18Mar)

>results were released showing an expected signal of unexpected strength,

I asked on APOD discussion what was 'unexpected' about the strength and was given a very good/interesting link


If I am understanding it correctly (! I'm just a brain of little bear :) ) their signal is  r  ("the tensor-to-scalar ratio is the ratio of gravitational waves to density fluctuations in the Universe. ")

and they, BICEP2, have found r = 0.2

whereas Planck have found r < 0.11

" A surprising aspect of the result is that the value of r BICEP2 found is actually above current constraints from other experiments.  The Planck mission found that r < 0.11 at 95% confidence, about two BICEP2 error bars below the BICEP2 result.  More certainly remains to be done to understand this tension, "

Again if I am understanding it correctly, r is related to the slope and height of the gradient between the false vacuum of the nowhen and the true vacuum of the big bang.

If the universe rolls down that slope too fast too soon there is not enough time for exponential inflation to happen.

But they dont seem to be too worried about that - surprising aspect - !

Looks like there is still some picking over to be done.

My head hertz

all that complication

just so that heap of dirty washing over there in the corner can exist

along with a washing machine , , ,

now if I could just get the clothes to quantumly fluctuate themselves into a state of clean ???

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Good stuff - Higg's Boson last year and now BB gravity-waves - I'll try to image both if it's clear tonight - I'm keeping the co-ord to myself for now :-)

Just remember the EQ mount needs to be on the right side.. to get the polarisation for each type ;)

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