On Monday, astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced they had detected ripples in the fabric of space-time, called gravitational waves, the signature of the universe being pushed apart at its birth roughly 13.8 billion years ago.
The signal was detected by a team of astronomers, led by John M. Kovac, using a telescope at the South Pole. The experiment is called BICEP2, which stands for Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization.
The landmark discovery builds on 30 years of work in which scientists theorized that the universe rapidly inflated in the microseconds after the Big Bang.
One of those authors of inflationary theory is Stanford professor Andrei Linde, who in 1983 first described chaotic inflation.
Last week, Chao-Lin Kuo of Stanford University and a member of the BICEP team, surprised Linde with the evidence supporting his theory. Linde was about to go on a Caribbean vacation when Kuo showed up at his door with Champagne, according to The New York Times.
“Having news like this is the best way of spoiling a vacation,” Linde told The Times.
Watch Linde’s reaction to hearing news of the discovery below:
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