Imagine being met with the news that an important aspect of your life’s work was validated. That’s what a Stanford University professor recently experienced — and the surprise moment was caught on camera.
Professor Andrei Linde is described in the video as the “founding father” of cosmic inflation, a theory that is the “bang of the Big Bang,” as Stanford Assistant Professor Chao-Lin Kuo put it. This theory was supported Monday when a new study announced evidence of these gravitational waves, found as part of the BICEP2 collaborative experiment.
“It explains why we have all this stuff,” Kuo said.
Kuo approached Linde’s front door and was greeted by the professor and his wife.
“So, I have a surprise for you,” he said, briefly explaining the findings in technical lingo.
It was Linde’s wife who pipped up first.
“Discovery?” Renata Kallosh, also a physics professor, said.
Upon confirmation, Kallosh stepped right up and gave Kuo a hug, a reaction to the news that she as a scientist herself and the spouse of a researcher who has spent years researching this theory could appreciate.
Linde on the other hand had to hear the news again — and again.
Then, out came the bubbly.
“We didn’t expect anybody. We thought it was probably some kind of delivery. ‘Did you order anything,’” Linde said.
“Yeah, I ordered it 30 years ago,” he continued with a laugh. “Finally, it arrived.”
“If this is true, it is a moment of such a moment of understanding of nature of such a magnitude that it just overwhelms,” Linde said. “Let us hope that it is not a trick.”
Watch the surprise announcement:
Scientists were looking for a specific pattern in light waves within the faint microwave glow left over from the Big Bang. The pattern has long been considered evidence of the rapid growth spurt, known as inflation.
The scientists say the light-wave pattern was caused by gravitational waves, which are ripples in the interweaving of space and time that sprawls through the universe. If confirmed, the new work would be the first detection of such waves from the birth of the universe, which have been called the first tremors of the Big Bang. The study has not yet been published in a scientific journal but will be submitted for consideration this week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.