Wednesday, November 26, 2014

BICEP2 Wrong on B-Modes

Last spring of 2014, an American team of physicists used BICEP or the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization telescope in Antarctica to look for evidence for cosmic inflation. As you may know, most physicists, astrophysicists and cosmologists believe the universe began in a dense hot state which expanded, cooled off and began to form galaxies, stars, planets etc.  This is called "Cosmic Inflation" or colloquially, "The Big Bang."  The theory came from a Catholic priest named George Lemaitre.

To date, this is the strongest theory out there in regards to the creation of the Universe; however, it is extremely difficult to detect such expansion or calculate what happened prior to Planck time. This is where BICEP2 comes in.  The team searched for polarizations or "B-modes" which are twists of gravitation waves or ripples.  Scientists conducting this study thought they discovered these B-modes and everyone broke out into celebration: "We finally have more solid evidence for Cosmic Inflation!" See: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2014/03/inflation-lemaitre-was-correct.html

Well, the European team replied, "hold up, wait a minute, something is wrong."  They are now arguing that these B-modes detected could be anything from the movement of large galaxies, other bodies in space or even dust from our own galaxy. The European team presented a paper to peer-review showing their evidence that, in fact, the American team got it wrong.





Source:

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1409.5738.pdf

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