As a writer permanently skeptical of scientific reports that appear to prove or disprove an article of religious faith, I want to take this opportunity to glory in science for science’s sake.
As I hope you’ve heard, this week Harvard scientists announced they had found evidence of a particular kind of gravitational wave long associated with the moments almost immediately after the creation of the universe. That’s right, there’s a picture of the Big Bang.
I say I hope you’ve heard about this because I am surprised at how small a bang, forgive me, this story has made in the non-science press, at least not yet. Religion News Service noticed the discovery’s implications for the quickness of the origins of the universe. But I’ve seen little else about the human implications of this new snapshot of our human origins. Perhaps people are wary of overhyping, or not understanding the science. Fortunately as a religion writer I am subject to neither restriction. And when you see this video of the information being communicated to the theorist that posited its existence, you won’t be either.
In a Carl Sagan meets Ed McMahon moment, Dr. Andrei Dmitriyevich Linde is greeted by a surprise knock at his door that will change his life. Only instead of a giant check, it’s Assistant Professor Chao-Lin Ku announcing the numerical readings of the BICEP telescope at the South Pole that took the Big Bang relevant data. Dr. Linde’s eyes get big, they calmly discuss the data then bust open a bottle of wine. Just stop and watch this thing, I beg you. I’ll wait.
See? See where Dr. Linde, reflects on the long-awaited validation of his prediction (which was even longer awaited by Albert Einstein, circa 1916, love that guy)? Hear that amazing thing he says, how he asked himself over the years if “I just had to believe in it because it was beautiful.” No, Dr. Linde, now you do not have to believe in the way light and gravity behaved just after the Big Bang just because it’s beautiful. But boy, it sure is.