Well known in the field, Lange helped Bock assemble the team of scientists, post docs, and grad students to achieve their goal.
The theory of inflation, which posits that the universe went through a massive expansion very early in its history, is about 30 years old. Scientists have long known the event, if it had happened, would have left its mark on the cosmos in the form of characteristic twists in light arriving from , years after the Big Bang known as the cosmic microwave background CMB. To detect the signature of inflation, a telescope would need to discriminate minute changes in temperature on the order of 10 millionths of a degree.
Some versions of inflation also might have produced a signal that was virtually imperceptible.
But if they could be found, these primordial B-modes would open up a whole new world of physics. Besides providing proof for inflation, the signal would allow scientists to probe unheard of energy levels in the early universe and provide Einstein with another notch in his science belt by proving gravitational waves were real. Full disclosure: Sheehy, as well as another grad student mentioned in this piece later, Jamie Tolan, were undergraduate classmates of mine at the University of California, Berkeley. Though it did not include the specialized detector Bock had been developing at JPL, it was the first step in collecting data and understanding what the team was searching for.
A successor experiment incorporating new the new detector technology, BICEP2 , started in and gathered data until Everyone on the team started with a large dose of skepticism about what they were seeing. Moreover, they still were not sure at this point that the primordial B-modes could be seen at all. If worst came to worst, and signal turned out to be nothing, the BICEP team figured it would at least set tighter limits on what other collaborations should one day see. The telescope and instruments, for instance, can be a source of noise that might happen to mimic the primordial B-mode polarizations.
The fact that they had used two different detectors, an older technology on BICEP1 and newer one on BICEP2, helped assure them that the instruments were not likely to be a source of problems. One type of instrument could show a particular error, but for two entirely different technologies to do so was unlikely. Data from this new telescope helped them check their previous work. Nearly a year ago, in April , the team got together for a three-day group meeting at Harvard. There, they shared their latest analysis and ideas, trying to stump each other with alternate explanations that could account for their signal.
They debated the findings for two days. They went around, polling each other on whether or not they thought the signal was real.
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Posted by Dan Satterfield. Thousands of scientists showed up in DC to march for science earlier this year. Every cancer specialist has the cure for cancer in his desk, and every climate scientist has proof that carbon dioxide is not causing global warming. All these earth shattering, Nobel prize winning, pieces of science have something in common besides usually being written in pencil.
Europe's heat wave uncovers a hidden past
They are all written by folks who have absolutely no expertise in the field. Everyone who works in any science field gets these. But, something seems different now. Nichols is an expert on Russia and teaches at the Naval War College, and when I picked up his book, I quickly realised that he was saying more clearly, what my mind has been trying to formulate for several years. Those who say that humans and dinosaurs never co-existed or that we must get away from fossil fuels are now elitists. Search engines do seem to give people a false sense of expertise.
More and more, scientists who are expert in their different fields are call ing out fake pseudo-science, and many are starting blogs that educate their readers on what is real. Teachers are stepping up as well. The lax laws in America allow all kinds of snake oil medicine and cures to be sold to a gullible public and most get away with it.