Scientists Discover Major Evidence for Big Bang

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

In this handout from NASA/ESA, an artist's concept illustrates a quasar, or feeding black hole. (NASA/ESAvia/Getty)

After a decades-long search for answers about the creation of the universe, scientists believe they have found a smoking gun.

On Monday, a team of scientists announced the first direct evidence for what's known as cosmic inflation, or proof of the first fractions of a second that were initiated after the Big Bang.

The cosmic inflation theory proposes that less than a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang, the universe expanded faster than the speed of light, and tiny ripples in the violently expanding energy field eventually grew into the large-scale structures of the universe.

Now radio astronomers are confirming this hypothesis—evidence was found in detecting the gravitational waves or ripples in space-time that were put forth nearly 14 billion years ago when the universe burst into existence.

Clem Pryke is an experimental cosmologist at the University of Minnesota and one of the principal investigators on the team that made the discovery. He joins The Takeaway to explain this scientific breakthrough. 


Clem Pryke

Produced by:

Ellen Frankman


T.J. Raphael

Comments [16]

stanchaz from B'land

Big deal.
It still doesn't explain the prime tortoise,
upon whose back everything else rests.
Oh well, we all have our creation myths, don't we?

Mar. 19 2014 02:57 PM
RobertinNJ from NJ

I find the "greater than the speed of light" expansion most interesting. This expansion would violate the present laws of physics, yet this expansion rate is needed for the universe to be where it is now. This raises the next question, when and how did the laws of physics come about? What pushed the transition to the maximum velocity is the speed of light. As in most great discoveries, this finding raises more questions.

Mar. 19 2014 09:44 AM
Peter Malcolm from Sheffield City UK

The short burst of 'intelligently structured signal'
may have been on the lines of.."let chaos begin NOW.

Mar. 19 2014 08:40 AM
Ed from Larchmont

There was a second big bang in creation ... the first created the physical universe ... the second created the spiritual universe ... the Incarnation.

Mar. 18 2014 08:57 PM
tom LI

Ed Larchmont -, not of course. Not "of course" (Goddidit!) at all.

Mar. 18 2014 04:06 PM

@Ed from Larchmont - so says you that its proof of god.

Mar. 18 2014 03:42 PM

A polarization in the background radiation could and mostly is an indication of an outwardly spiraling Universe much like a galaxy does and the polarization is an indication of our location within that outwardly progressing spiral. It’s not necessarily a result of “spacetime” which still eludes direct measurement unlike an outwardly spiraling system where the outer edges travel away from the center faster than the inner parts.

When will cosmology come out of the dark ages of mythos and attribute observation to real phenomena?

Mar. 18 2014 03:29 PM
Angel from Miami FL

What if our atoms are universes, and this universe is an atom amongst millions more? And it goes this way to infinity so that nothing is really too small or too big except in our ability to measure them. What if the Big Bang is the result of a Big Collapse? And eventually the expansion reaches the other side of this bubble where it all gets pulled in on itself if for just an amount of time too short for us to currently measure it. What if creation is repeated in multiple, scalable parallels all the time in cycles lasting both a fraction of a nanosecond and a grouping of years too long for a 'llion suffix? It's possible WE are still collectively imagining the results of these cycles and then forgotten those results as soon as we learned the constraints of language and societal conventions. All of us could have seen trillions of worlds and wiped the slate clean the minute we said "dada" out loud. I mean, we have enough artificially inflated problems to deal with... why would we want to compound the latter with the former?

Mar. 18 2014 02:57 PM

It fries me when people make remarks criticizing a person's profession because they don't understand it - why belittle what you don't understand?

Let your mind expand - as does the universe! Expand and build on the knowledge at whatever stage you are personally: having gone thru the experiences in life you've had. It's like a small planet does not have to be limited to knowledge of that space only; small minds can explore unless fear of knowledge holds the thinker back from greater thoughts.

Science as well as philosophers put into a box for laymen's consumption that which they are trying to interpret so more people can begin to understand what they are saying. Language is constructed by humans and will always fall short of complete explanation that satisfies everyone . . . .

Mar. 18 2014 02:10 PM
Lillian from Galloway, NJ

The latest discoveries about our cosmic beginnings are fascinating. Although it sounds silly, I still think our universe could be tiny in comparison to something else, even greater. Ever since I saw "Men in Black" in 1997, the idea that our universe could be but a marble that an alien tosses around with other marbles has intrigued me. Maybe we're a step closer to finding out, or maybe we'll never know.

Mar. 18 2014 12:48 PM
David from Philadelphia

Despite this major discovery, my alarm still went off at 4;30 a.m. and I had to get up to go to work

Mar. 18 2014 12:37 PM
jane hertz from Orlando Florida

what an amazing job title experimental cosmologist. why wasn't that offered when I was going to school

Mar. 18 2014 12:35 PM
Hunter from Brooklyn

Lost my balance when I heard Hockenberry say — twice — that the Big Bang created the universe "at the speed of light." Prof. Pryke politely corrected him by saying it was actually faster than that. How much faster? At the speed of light, it would take take over 100,000 years to traverse our own Milky Way galaxy. The entire universe, as this new observation of gravitational waves supports, was created in a trillionth of a trillionth of a second. Put that in your gravity bong and smoke it, John!

Mar. 18 2014 09:59 AM
Donald Miklas from Marlboro, NJ

Science shows that the Big Bang and forward is a process of increasing comlplexity, rising knowledge and consciousness due to new associations. In succession, Galaxies form solar systems, planets, inorganic substances and then organic cells, to flora and fauna and currently - humans. The universe and humanity has a goal, which is to join with the center and creator as the final change.

Mar. 18 2014 09:46 AM
Ed from Larchmont

The discoveries are filling in the picture that scientists have speculated on up to now, and it's narration is found in Genesis, it amplifies the meaning of Genesis with details.

Mar. 18 2014 09:35 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Of course the Big Bang wasn't the start of everything in the sense that God, of course, existed before the Big Bang, outside of time. It's one proof of God that man's mind has the ability to investigate all of physical reality. What's the scientists are finding out is a tremendous service to humanity!

Mar. 18 2014 09:33 AM

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