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On March 17, 2014, researchers from the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (BICEP2) experiment announced that they had obtained evidence of cosmic inflation — the theory that after the big bang, the universe expanded by 60 orders of magnitude in about 10-35 second. In a paper published on June 19 in Physical Review Letters, the BICEP2 team presents their data and analysis in a peer-reviewed venue.
In addition to the BICEP2 paper, Physical Review Letters has published several theoretical analyses and a special editorial comment. Accompanying the research papers, Physics features a Viewpoint commentary by Lawrence Krauss and a Focus article by David Lindley.
If the inflationary origin of the signal is confirmed by upcoming studies, the result will be a “milestone in the history of cosmology,” the editors note. The next chapter of the story will be written when other experiments, such as the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite, release their results later this year.
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