For the first time, scientists have found direct evidence of the expansion of the universe, a previously theoretical event that took place a fraction of a second after the Big Bang explosion nearly 14 billion years ago.Gravitational waves, proposed by Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity nearly 100 years ago but never before proven, are believed to have originated in the Big Bang explosion and then been amplified by the universe’s inflation.
“This detection is cosmology’s missing link,” physicist Marc Kamionkowski, at Johns Hopkins University, told reporters during a webcast press conference on Monday.
“It’s something that we thought should be there, but we weren’t really sure. It has been eagerly sought now for close to two decades,” he said.
This is an absolutely astonishing discovery. This brings us one step closer to understanding the creation and expansion of the universe. It's important to mention, for those that are not knowledgable in physics to focus on the importance of the act of expansion and the relation of gravity to it, as opposed to picturing an explosion. It's easy to get caught up a bit in the misnomer "Big Bang" especially since it uses such descriptive (though inaccurate) words.“These results are as extraordinary as they get, and they will require the most extraordinary scrutiny,” Kamionkowski said.
“If these results hold up … then we’ve learned only that inflation has sent us a telegram, encoded on gravitational waves and transcribed on the cosmic microwave background sky. It will be essential in the years to come to follow through with more detailed and precise measurements to infer fully what this telegram is telling us,” he added.