The stunning result shows that cosmic inflation theory — the idea that the universe underwent an extremely rapid and violent expansion in its early moments — can be proven through direct observation of ripples in the light from the Big Bang. The BICEP2 team found patterns of swirls caused by gravitational waves in the cosmic microwave background, light left over from the birth of the universe.
Slozar goes on: “If confirmed this will most likely be a Nobel prize. People always hoped to detect gravity waves from the early universe to learn about inflation, but nobody had an idea how strong they might be and nobody dared to hope that they might be as bright as the BICEP2 data suggest. (In fact, they are so bright that they evade some earlier limits from a different measurement, so obviously we are not at the end of the story). Again, the signal is so strong that we can really go and characterize it and learn a lot about the early universe and fundamental physics.”