Big Bang: Einstein’s relativity theory backed by new-wave discovery

Big Bang: Einstein’s relativity theory backed by new-wave discovery
March 19, 2014
Nicky Phillips
Science Editor
A telescope at the South Pole recently discovered gravity waves dating back to the moment of the Big Bang. Science columnist Peter Spinks discusses the findings with astrophysicist Professor Karl Glazebrook.
In the first moment following the Big Bang, scientists believe the universe got very big, very quickly.

On Monday, US astronomers said they had peered further back in time than ever before and detected compelling evidence of this dramatic and rapid expansion, a theory known as ”cosmic inflation”.
”It is somewhat of a mad theory, which was introduced in the 1980s to solve a lot of issues with the way the universe looked,” said University of Melbourne cosmologist Alan Duffy.
”This discovery is really the first confirmation that a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang the universe grew enormously,” he said. ”We’re all pretty ecstatic about this result.”
The announcement is also significant because it provides proof for Einstein’s final prediction, the theory of general relativity, which predicts a violent event such as the rapid expansion of the universe would create ripples in space-time called gravitational waves.
After using a radio telescope at the South Pole, a team from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics said it had detected very specific patterns of light, known as B-modes, which were almost certainly caused by very early gravitational waves as a result of cosmic inflation.
”We’re very excited to present our results because they seem to match the prediction of the theory so closely,” said John Kovac, the leader of the BICEP project.
While strong circumstantial evidence existed for gravitational waves, no one had observed them directly, which was why the detection of light patterns left by primordial gravitational waves had astronomers so excited.
If the result was verified it promised to be one of the biggest advances in cosmology in 20 years, comparable to Australian Nobel prize winner Brian Schmidt discovering the expansion of the universe was accelerating. It also had implications for scientist’s understanding of quantum mechanics.
University of Sydney astrophysicist Bryan Gaensler said normally the effect of gravitational waves was so small it was extremely difficult to detect.
But the rapid and violent expansion caused by inflation would have set the whole universe ringing with them, he said.
And although these early waves had long disappeared, the theory of inflation predicted they would leave behind a very specific and subtle imprint in the form of B-modes.
Professor Gaensler said scientists had been looking for B-modes for years, but the radio signal they emitted was very faint and travelled from the edge of the universe.
”It’s like looking through a really dirty window at something that’s thousands of kilometres away,” he said.
University of Melbourne cosmologist Katie Mack said while the detection of primordial gravitational waves in the early universe was a ”really big deal” and was consistent with the theory of inflation, their presence alone was not direct evidence of the theory.
”We can’t say for sure that those gravitational waves were produced by inflation,” she said.
But she said their detection was evidence that gravity had quantum mechanical properties, like particles, something physicists suspected but had not seen evidence of.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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