Saturday, March 22, 2014

Cosmic Inflation! And Physicists on Facebook!

I could probably just "reblog" this post from Astropixie (thanks Amanda!), but I guess I'll write a few words myself...

Cosmic inflation! Physics was in the news recently when new measurements appeared to confirm theoretical predictions about some expected properties of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) and how this relates to events that took place not long after the Big Bang. It's complicated but this wonderful comic by Jon Kaufman, one of the Ph.D. students who worked on the project, explains it pretty well. If you read the footnote on the comic, you'll learn that one of Jon's tasks on the project was to hang out for months at the South Pole, recharging the liquid Helium in the telescope that was used for the measurements (sometimes the South Pole just isn't cold enough!).

How cool is it that they can measure the polarization of the CMB? And how cool is it that there is something called PHD Comics

So of course this result will need to be confirmed by additional independent measurements, but physicists and astronomers seem to be pretty psyched about it. They're even discussing it on Facebook. What a world! What a universe!

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