Many of you will have read in the last week that unfortunately (though to no one’s surprise after seeing the data from the Planck satellite in the last few months) the BICEP2 experiment’s claim of a discovery of gravitational waves from cosmic inflation has blown away in the interstellar wind. [For my previous posts on BICEP2, including a great deal of background information, click here.] The BICEP2 scientists and the Planck satellite scientists have worked together to come to this conclusion, and written a joint paper on the subject. Their conclusion is that the potentially exciting effect that BICEP2 observed (“B-mode polarization of the cosmic microwave background on large scales”; these terms are explained here) was due, completely or in large part, to polarized dust in our galaxy (the Milky Way). The story of how they came to this conclusion is interesting, and my goal today is to explain it to non-experts. Click here to read more.
First Time Visitor?This site addresses various aspects of science, with a current focus on particle physics. I aim to serve the public, including those with no background knowledge of physics. If you're not yourself an expert, you might want to click on "New? Start Here" or "About" to get started. If you'd like to watch my hour-long public lecture about the Higgs particle, try ``Movie Clips''.
- In Memory of Joe Polchinski, the Brane Master
- The Significance of Yesterday’s Gravitational Wave Announcement: an FAQ
- A Scientific Breakthrough! Combining Gravitational and Electromagnetic Waves
- LIGO and VIRGO Announce a Joint Observation of a Black Hole Merger
- Watch for Auroras
- An Experience of a Lifetime: My 1999 Eclipse Adventure
- Ongoing Chance of Northern (or Southern) Lights
- Lights in the Sky (maybe…)