Scientists make major advance in understanding evolution of the universe

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Washington, August 20 (ANI): In a new research, a team of scientists has achieved a significant advance in the understanding of the early evolution of the universe, by putting new constraints on the details of how the universe looked in its earliest moments.

The research was conducted by a team of scientists associated with the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration.

The new measurements by LIGO directly probe the gravitational wave background in the first minute of its existence, at time scales much shorter than accessible by the cosmic microwave background.

"Our results are a major step toward the detection of primordial gravitational waves - ripples in the fabric of space and time - that were created as the universe expanded in its earliest moments," said Lee Samuel Finn, a Penn State professor of physics and of astronomy and astrophysics.

"This type of information would provide vital clues to understanding how the structure of the universe evolved. For example, why is our universe clumped into galaxies? This information also would tell us whether some of the fantastical proposals are correct about the way our universe came to be," he said.

The Big Bang is believed to have created a flood of gravitational waves that still fill the universe and carry information about the universe as it existed immediately after the Big Bang.

These waves would be observed as the "stochastic background," analogous to a superposition of many waves of different sizes and directions on the surface of a pond.

The amplitude of this background is directly related to the parameters that govern the behavior of the universe during the first minute after the Big Bang.

According to Finn, "Space-time is the living stage upon which the drama of the universe plays out. The primordial stochastic gravitational waves are the warps, twists, and bends in space-time that were laid down as the universe expanded from its earliest moments to the present."

"The observations we report in this paper are the closest direct examination of the framework of the living, breathing universe, he said.

"Gravitational waves are the only way to directly probe the universe at the moment of its birth; they're absolutely unique in that regard," said David Reitze, a professor of physics at the University of Florida and spokesperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.

"We simply can't get this information from any other type of astronomy. This is what makes this result in particular, and gravitational-wave astronomy in general, so exciting," he added. (ANI)

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