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A Babe in the Universe

The Year

23 Mar 2015, 02:01 UTC
The Year
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What a year has gone by! In May 2014 THE SPEED OF LIGHT was published, and is still selling briskly. On March 17, 2014 the BICEP2 team announced "smoking gun" evidence in the microwave background of gravitational waves from inflation. This was immediately hailed as discovery of the century, worthy of Nobel Prizes. Those of us who understand light wondered if BICEP2 had seen something else. On February 1, 2015 a paper from the PLANCK team showed conclusively that the signal was just galactic dust. There is, as before, no evidence that "inflation" ever happened. The idea, that the early universe briefly inflated many times faster than light, is at a dead end. It has not led to a solution, just an inflation of speculative ideas. Inflation is fundamentally untestable. Scientists can not time-travel to the first 10^[-33] seconds to observe inflation, and no conceivable experiment can even approach the conditions of the Big Bang. As Paul Steinhardt said in NATURE, inflation is scientifically meaningless. A highly cited 1997 paper by Mark Kamionowski held out the hope that B-modes and gravitational waves in the microwave background could be signs of inflation. Despite many experiments seeking them, gravitational waves have never ...

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