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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Eckard Blumschein: on 6/29/14 at 5:16am UTC, wrote Was the claimed evidence published in a refereed paper before announcing...

Steve Agnew: on 6/6/14 at 17:06pm UTC, wrote ...and of course, now the critiques... Big Bang blunder bursts the...

Alan Lowey: on 4/1/14 at 4:34am UTC, wrote I said in my first post: Hi Zeeya, You say above that "a twisted...

Steve Agnew: on 3/22/14 at 16:45pm UTC, wrote This is really great news and thanks for the postings and links. To...

Christian Corda: on 3/19/14 at 17:52pm UTC, wrote This new result by BICEP2 makes more important my fundamental result,...

John Merryman: on 3/18/14 at 23:01pm UTC, wrote Eckard, Time will tell. Given the extent to which confirmation bias is so...

Pentcho Valev: on 3/18/14 at 20:05pm UTC, wrote Eckard, "Arp found: "galaxies with radically different redshifts, and thus...

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FQXi BLOGS
August 25, 2019

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: BICEP2: Primordial Gravitational Waves & Evidence for Inflation [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator Zeeya Merali wrote on Mar. 17, 2014 @ 13:08 GMT
Updated: Congratulations to FQXi's Alan Guth and Andrei Linde following the announcement of the first direct detection of B modes -- evidence of their inflation theory. Well done to those working on BICEP2, and all others who have contributed to the development of inflation theory over the years. Here's a lovely video, from Stanford University, showing Linde's reaction to the news:



Rumours have been flying since last week about a major discovery that will have implications for our understanding of the early universe. Later today—as I'm certain you will already have heard—there will be an official announcement from the BICEP2 experiment. The experiment involves a ground-based telescope at the South Pole, specifically designed to look for the "B-mode" signature of inflation (a predicted period of rapid acceleration of the universe in its infancy) in the CMB.

This is a thread to discuss what looks most likely to be the announcement of some level of discovery of such B modes, a twisted signature in the polarisation of CMB light that could only have been made by primordial gravitational waves—ripples in the fabric of space-time, set off by the rapid acceleration of space-time during inflation. Gravitational waves have been predicted to exist by general relativity, but primordial gravitational waves are considered to be evidence for inflation theory, in particular, because only period of massive expansion in the early universe could leave us with a detectable imprint of them today.

Details on where to watch the announcement and read the papers (once available) are here:

Dear friends and colleagues,

We invite you to join us tomorrow (Monday, 17 March) for a special webcast presenting the first results from the BICEP2 CMB telescope. The webcast will begin with a presentation for scientists 10:45-11:30 EDT, followed by a news conference 12:00-1:00 EDT.

You can join the webcast from the link at www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/news_conferences.html

Papers and data products will be available at 10:45 EDT from http://bicepkeck.org.



thank you, John Kovac, Clem Pryke, Jamie Bock, Chao-Lin Kuo on behalf of The BICEP2 Collaboration


Stuart Clark has written an overview of the impact of such an announcement, for The Guardian, including comments from FQXi's Hiranya Peiris.

Sean Carroll has rounded up some slightly more detailed blog posts on the subject, in addition to giving his own excellent primer on the topic.

For a slightly more technical description of the different types of polarisation in the CMB, what B Modes are, and how they would be left behind by the passage of gravitational waves, you can see a great slideshow by Daniel Baumann.

Update: And here's the paper.

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FQXi Administrator Zeeya Merali wrote on Mar. 17, 2014 @ 14:13 GMT
Matt Strassler on BICEP2: http://profmattstrassler.com/2014/03/17/a-primer-on-todays-e
vents/


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FQXi Administrator Zeeya Merali wrote on Mar. 17, 2014 @ 14:20 GMT
Peter Coles: http://telescoper.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/some-b-mode-backg
round/


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Alan Lowey wrote on Mar. 17, 2014 @ 15:28 GMT
Hi Zeeya,

You say above that "a twisted signature in the polarisation of CMB light that could only have been made by primordial gravitational waves—ripples in the fabric of space-time, set off by the rapid acceleration of space-time during inflation" but let us remember that Einstein's spacetime theory is just a theory which doesn't tie in with quantum mechanics. I hate to say this of course but a helical graviton model for gravity would also give a helical polarization to the cosmic background radiation during early inflation.

Any announcement shouldn't be taken as evidence of Einstein's theory of relativity but only as evidence of inflation.

Kind regards,

Alan

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John Brodix Merryman wrote on Mar. 18, 2014 @ 02:51 GMT
I think I'd wait until the dust settles a little more, before getting too worked up over this.

The way they were describing it, I assumed the polarization was some single broad swirl, but it looks like lots of swirls and eddies. It's been my contention the background radiation was actually light from ever more distant galaxies, that has been redshifted completely off the visible spectrum. Wouldn't this multiple source model create the effect as it's shown?

Regards,

John M

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Mar. 18, 2014 @ 05:23 GMT
John,

Let me tell you what made me suspicious: "theorist Avi Loeb said, this work offers new insights into some of our most basic questions: Why do we exist?" I consider this question naive and related to religion rather than basic to science.

The interpretation of the celebrated measurement reminds me of those who were searching in the brain for patterns in response to acoustic stimuli and who were happy when they found something very regular. However, it turned out that the regularity coincided with missing rather than transmitted signals.

The name bicep and the considerable effort for years indicate a strong desire to get a theory confirmed by force. That's why I share your caution.

BTW, I got aware of Fred Hoyle who supported not just the steady state theory but unfortunately also the anthropic principle. Are you aware of less speculative work?

Regards,

Eckard

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Anonymous replied on Mar. 18, 2014 @ 17:03 GMT
Eckard,

After reading his entry in the Questioning the Foundations contest, I've taken everything Professor Loeb says with a grain of salt.

In its most basic form, the anthropic principle is a bit of a first principle. As Descartes said, Cogito, ergo sum. We have to be here to ask the questions.

The big four are Hoyle, Halton Arp and the Burbidges. Plasma Cosmology has a lot...

view entire post


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Eckard Blumschein replied on Mar. 18, 2014 @ 19:36 GMT
John,

Loeb wrote: "The most fundamental question about our Universe is whether we are alone." He lost me.

Arp found: "galaxies with radically different redshifts, and thus at vastly different distances from us, often appeared connected by filaments and bridges of gas" and "The biggest redshifts belonged to quasars — brilliant, pointlike objects that are presumably at the edge of the universe. Dr. Arp found, however, that they were often suspiciously close in the sky to relatively nearby spiral galaxies."

This sounds serious to me.

Today I heard a comment of someone who will this year perform measurements not from the south pole but from space. He was not yet sure how to judge BICEP.

Eckard

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Mar. 18, 2014 @ 20:05 GMT
Eckard,

"Arp found: "galaxies with radically different redshifts, and thus at vastly different distances from us, often appeared connected by filaments and bridges of gas" and "The biggest redshifts belonged to quasars - brilliant, pointlike objects that are presumably at the edge of the universe. Dr. Arp found, however, that they were often suspiciously close in the sky to relatively nearby spiral galaxies." This sounds serious to me."

This sounds serious to everybody - for that reason Arp is an unperson (like Bryan Wallace and many others):

Halton Arp : victim of RATIONAL Scientific society

"Withers, however, was already an unperson. He did not exist : he had never existed."

Pentcho Valev

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Christian Corda wrote on Mar. 19, 2014 @ 17:52 GMT
This new result by BICEP2 makes more important my fundamental result, Interferometric detection of gravitational waves: the definitive test for general relativity, which received an honorable mention in the 2009 Essay Competition of the Gravity Research Foundation. In fact, I have been informed by World Scientific Publishing that my paper has been inserted among the papers on general relativity which they are promoting in conjunction with the 135th anniversary of Albert Einstein.

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Steve Agnew wrote on Mar. 22, 2014 @ 16:45 GMT
This is really great news and thanks for the postings and links. To actually have a direct measurement of a gravity wave as a B-mode and then on top of that, to have a ratio of the gravity wave tensor to charge wave scalar of 0.2, makes the result really significant.

Any model of an evolving universe will of course have a period of reionization after darkness and so the gravity waves in the CMB are consistent with a large number of cosmologies, not just with inflation.

It is especially intriguing to suppose that charge and gravity forces were only different by a factor of five at the CMB, but now differ by 1e39 or so. What would be really exciting is if B-mode polarization waves can also be seen in early galaxies and so resolve the scalar/tensor ratio evolution in time.

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Alan Lowey wrote on Apr. 1, 2014 @ 04:34 GMT
I said in my first post:

Hi Zeeya,

You say above that "a twisted signature in the polarisation of CMB light that could only have been made by primordial gravitational waves—ripples in the fabric of space-time, set off by the rapid acceleration of space-time during inflation" but let us remember that Einstein's spacetime theory is just a theory which doesn't tie in with quantum mechanics. I hate to say this of course but a helical graviton model for gravity would also give a helical polarization to the cosmic background radiation during early inflation.

Any announcement shouldn't be taken as evidence of Einstein's theory of relativity but only as evidence of inflation.


This Scientific American article made my stomach turn and just shows how engrained the assumption of a "spacetime fabric" is

The BICEP2 experiment’s potential discovery of spacetime ripples may provide support for the concept of many universes, but critics are unconvinced

Alan

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Steve Agnew wrote on Jun. 6, 2014 @ 17:06 GMT
...and of course, now the critiques...

Big Bang blunder bursts the multiverse bubble

Premature hype over gravitational waves highlights gaping holes in models for the origins and evolution of the universe, argues Paul Steinhardt.

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