March 17, 2014
In a landmark achievement, scientists say they have seen ripples in the weave of the universe, which would provide the first direct evidence that the universe underwent a massive and incomprehensibly fast growth spurt in its earliest infancy.
If the new findings are confirmed, they could very well earn their discoverers the Nobel Prize, says astrophysicist Xavier Siemens of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Researchers have sought to detect these ripples, known as gravitational waves, for years, and more than a dozen telescopes have been looking for them. Though Einstein predicted gravitational waves, he thought they might not be detectable, and their existence was in some doubt.
Outside scientists’ early reaction included some skepticism but also amazement and admiration.