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The physics world was on fire yesterday after an announcement that astronomers had detected a signal from the beginning of time. This is exactly as cool as it sounds. Maybe even cooler. And it might lead to us learning further crazy things about our universe.
With yesterday’s announcement, inflation finds itself on much firmer ground. The swirly pattern discovered in the polarization of CMB light is a pretty good indication that these photons were warped by immense gravitational waves. These waves must have come from somewhere, and the most compelling source would be from the inflationary era, when space-time rippled as it expanded outward at a rapid pace. If the findings are confirmed, they provide evidence that inflation did indeed happen and could allow scientists to figure out precisely how big and fast the expansion was.