Scientists Less Confident about the Evidence for Big Bang

Scientists Less Confident about the Evidence for Big Bang

A few months ago, researchers talked about strong evidence that supported a more than three-decade-old theory about the dramatic expansion shortly after our universe emerged, termed as Big Bang. A group of physicists gathered at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge to make the announcement of the evidence during a celebratory press conference in mid-March.

However, researchers have now said that a pattern they found in the sky could be the result of measuring polarization that was emitted by a more mundane source, galactic dust. The Harvard-led team is still confident that the measurement it took with a South Pole telescope was the curled polarization pattern of ancient light from the earliest moments of the universe.

A paper has presented those results in the journal Physical Review Letters on Thursday. The authors, led by John Kovac, a Harvard astronomer, claimed that new information on polarized dust emission has become available after they submitted this paper.

They did not deny the possibility that the dust levels may be higher than they included in their analysis and agreed that more data is significant for this problem to resolve.

The festive March event was attended by two theoretical physicists, who have been criticized or forging the so-called inflation theory. Many scientists argued over the results of the study at conferences, online and in publications. Several publicists raised concerns over dust problem during these discussions.

"I think the issue is still unresolved . . . the issue being whether what they measured comes from gravity waves in the early universe or from the dust. I expect it to be resolved fairly soon", said Alan Guth, a theoretical physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Guth is known to have brought up the idea of inflation in the late 1970s.


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