Ripples From The Big Bang: Listening to the Beginning of Time

In March, a major breakthrough in understanding the origin of universe took the scientific community–and the general public–by storm. A team lead by astronomer John Kovac, using a powerful telescope at the South Pole, reported evidence of ripples in the fabric of space time produced by the big bang, a long-sought prediction of our most refined approach to cosmology, the inflationary theory. Amidst the worldwide celebration, though, some have been quietly suggesting that the champagne has been uncorked prematurely. Join a singular conversation, among the world’s most respected pioneers in cosmological theory and observation, that will explore the state of the art in the ongoing quest to understand the beginning of the universe.

This program is part of the Big Ideas Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.

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Original Program Date: May 30, 2014
Host: Brian Greene
Participants: Andrei Linde, Alan Guth, Amber Miller, John Kovac, Paul Steinhardt

Brian Greene’s Introduction. 00:12

Participant Introductions. 20:34

Can we confirm that there are ripples in the fabric of space? 22:19

What did you find with BICEP2? 26:05

What is the inflationary theory? 31:46

What is making the universe accelerate? 37:33

What were the main issues with the inflationary theory? 44:42

What is chaotic inflation? 51:22

How do we calculate density motivations? 59:00

Looking for cosmic fluctuation. 1:03:40

How close were the predictions to the observations? 1:09:03

How confident are you that the swirls are coming from quantum fluctuations? 1:14:40

What are the concerns about the inflationary theory? 1:23:49

Final thoughts. 1:29:33
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