UCSD gets $40 million to study infancy of the universe

By - May 12th, 2016
UC San Diego astrophysicist Brian Keating will lead the Simons Observatory, which is being created in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Image Credit (Nelvin C. Cepeda)

"UC San Diego has received $40 million in gifts to create and lead an observatory in Chile that’s expected to greatly improve scientists’ ability to study how the universe evolved after its calamitous birth 13.8 billion years ago."

"In 2014, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics held a news conference and announced that a team of scientists had found the light they were looking for with the use of BICEP2. There was immediate talk that the discovery was worthy of the Nobel Prize. Keating, who was part of the science team, told the Union-Tribune, “If our discovery can be confirmed, we will have detected inflation’s imprimatur — the fingerprint of the Big Bang.” He repeatedly emphasized the need to confirm the discovery. Many others did not. Less than a year later, scientists partially recanted their finding, saying that they had not discovered definitive proof that the universe “inflated” immediately after the Big Bang. Keating said, “The mistake is one of interpretation. The telescope did capture a clear signal. It might be dust from the Milky Way or from gravitational waves lurking beneath the dust signal. But we have determined that the signal isn’t totally from when we believe the universe began to expand .“ This is not a blunder. It’s not like we left the lens cap on the telescope.”  The funk didn’t last long…"

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