A Big Bang Theorist Gets Speechless Over A New 'Smoking Gun' Discovery

"Inflation" is a concept some physicists thought up in the 1980s to deal with the trickier parts of the Big Bang theory. One of those physicists was Andrei Linde — and he's about to get some really surprising news!

This concept of "inflation" explains why deep space looks the same in all directions. We'd know that theory was on track if scientists could find, essentially, the "oldest light" in the universe, made just fractions of a second after the Big Bang.

That's about all I could explain without making my brain explode, but if you'd like to learn more about what this is and what it means, check out some extra reading over at the BBC.

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Female Voice: Stanford University.

Chao-Lin Kuo: Today I'm going to deliver news to Professor Andrei Linde, who is the founding father of inflation. So, inflation is the theory about the bang of big bang. It explains why we have all this stuff in the universe. So, today I'm going to tell him our experiment, BICEP2, based at south pole has found the smoking gun evidence of inflation. He has no idea that I'm coming.

Renata Kallosh:: Hi.

Chao-Lin Kuo: So, I have a surprise for you.

Professor Andrei Linde: Wow.

Chao-Lin Kuo: It's five sigma at 0.2

Mrs. Linde: Discovery?

Chao-Lin Kuo: Yes.

Professor Andrei Linde: What? Just a second. Can you repeat it?

Chao-Lin Kuo: Five sigma, as clear as day, R of 0.2.

Professor Andrei Linde: Can you repeat it again?

Chao-Lin Kuo: R 0.2 plus/minus 0.05.

Professor Andrei Linde: 0.2? We don't expect anybody. Renata tells, it's probably some kind of delivery. Did you order anything? Yeah, I ordered it years ago, finally it arrived.

Chao-Lin Kuo: Cheers, cheers. Congratulations.

Renata Kallosh:: Congratulations.

Professor Andrei Linde: Oh my god, I'm going to break something. We are talking, right now, about billionths of billionths of billionths of millionths of a second after the big bang. So we see the face of the big bang. It is an image of these gravitational waves which cause purely quantum gravity feature of what was produced in the big bang. So this is a remaining part of the story.

Chao-Lin Kuo: It's really hard to. . .

Renata Kallosh:: They're all there. They're all three different experiments.

Chao-Lin Kuo: Yes.

Professor Andrei Linde: If this is true, this is a moment of understanding of nature of such a magnitude that it just overwhelms, and let's see… Let's just hope that it's not a trick. I always live with this feeling. What if I'm tricked? What if I believe into this just because it is beautiful? What if… Yes. So this is really helpful to have evidence like that. It's really, really helpful. Thank you so much for doing it for us.

Female Voice: For more, please visit us at Stanford.edu.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

This one is by some peeps who are way smarter than me over at Stanford University.

Mar 18, 2014

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