Though many scientists believed the inflation theory, they have been trying to find evidence of it for decades, without success. This week, however, a team of researchers announced that they had detected distinctive light-wave patterns in the microwave glow left over from the Big Bang, which is known as the Cosmic Microwave Background CMB.
They believe such swirls of light are evidence of the presence of gravitational waves, or ripples in the fabric of space-time, produced by inflation. Their project, dubbed BICEP2, for Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization, was seeking evidence of a phenomenon known as primordial B-mode polarization, or the twists of light in the CMB that could only have been produced by gravitational waves moving through the universe during the inflationary process.
Their results will have to be confirmed by other experiments, a standard requirement in the science world.
If they are verified, however, the findings could amount to one of the biggest discoveries in the history of science. This is a signal from the very earliest universe, sending a telegram encoded in gravitational waves.
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