First Direct Evidence of Universe Expansion Detected
   2014-03-18 09:48:28    Agencies      Web Editor: Zhang

A picture made available by the Boston Globe shows (L-R) Marc Kamionkowski of Johns Hopkins University, Clem Pryke of University of Minnesota, Jamie Block of Caltech attending a press conference on Monday, March 17, 2014. [Photo: CFP]

US scientists announced Monday that they have for the first time detected waves of gravity that rippled through space right after the Big Bang, a landmark discovery that adds to the understanding of how the universe was born.

The waves were produced in a rapid growth spurt 14 billion years ago, and were predicted in Albert Einstein's nearly century-old theory of general relativity but were never found until now, AFP reports.

The first direct evidence of cosmic inflation - a theory that the universe expanded by 100 trillion trillion times in barely the blink of an eye - was announced by experts at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

The detection was made with the help of a telescope called BICEP2, stationed at the South Pole, that measures the oldest light in the universe.

If confirmed by other experts, some said the work could be a contender for the Nobel Prize.

The waves that move through space and time have been described as the "first tremors of the Big Bang."

The detection confirms an integral connection between Einstein's theory of general relativity and the stranger conceptual realm of quantum mechanics.

NASA said the findings "not only help confirm that the universe inflated dramatically, but are providing theorists with the first clues about the exotic forces that drove space and time apart."

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