That humans have confirmed the Higgs boson and much of the underpinnings of the inflationary nature of the universe shortly after the Big Bang (gravity waves!) in the last two years (not to mention other advances in biological, psychological and sociological sciences) in a time of scientific budget cuts and anti-scientific thinking in our country gives me great hope for our species in this still young century.
We’re explorers, and these understandings of the universe around us leads us to greater deeds here on earth with the right guidance. Or to put it another selfish way, every dollar we put into science leads to many many more in return.
While we are capable of disastrous and terrible actions, we’re also capable of learning from our past and correcting our path as a species. Here’s to our better natures in this incredible time of human exploration…
Reaching back across 13.8 billion years to the first sliver of cosmic time with telescopes at the South Pole, a team of astronomers led by John M. Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics detected ripples in the fabric of space-time — so-called gravitational waves — the signature of a universe being wrenched violently apart when it was roughly a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second old. They are the long-sought smoking-gun evidence of inflation, proof, Dr. Kovac and his colleagues say, that Dr. Guth was correct.
Inflation has been the workhorse of cosmology for 35 years, though many, including Dr. Guth, wondered whether it could ever be proved.
If corroborated, Dr. Kovac’s work will stand as a landmark in science comparable to the recent discovery of dark energy pushing the universe apart, or of the Big Bang itself. It would open vast realms of time and space and energy to science and speculation.