SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY
Theory Suggests a Pre-Big Bang Universe
from Science News
Some people are loath to take a lopsided view of the universe, but cosmologist Sean Carroll and his colleagues are positively reveling in it.
Embracing a study that suggests the pattern of radiation left over from the Big Bang looks surprisingly different from one side of the sky to the other, Carroll and colleagues have come up with some mind-bending possibilities to explain the puzzle, described in a paper posted online June 3.
In one scenario, the universe existed before inflation - the short-lived but enormous growth spurt associated with the Big Bang. In the other scenario, the universe is but a tiny part of a primordial structure now grown so big it exceeds the horizon of the observable universe.
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Using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ATC), a 6.5-meter microwave collector in Chile, cosmologists are piecing together the early history of the known universe. In an exclusive American Scientist interview, Arthur Kosowsky—a member of the ATC team and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh—discusses how he is using ATC to reach back in time billions of years to search for gravitational waves that could verify inflation and reveal unprecedented details about how the cosmos was born.
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