Week 12: Hero – Marc Kamionkowski, Bruce Partridge et al Theoretical Physicists)

by Ray_North on March 23, 2014

hero_iconThis week’s winners of the Hero of the Week award are the team of physicists responsible for discovering the radiation waves that were emitted a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.

At least I think that’s what they’ve discovered.

When I nominated these boys for this week’s Hero award, I have to say that there weren’t many takers either to second my nomination or be the person to write the piece explaining their award – you see, if we’re honest, we’ve not much of a clue what it is these boys have discovered.

My understanding is this: Einstein predicted in his theory of relativity that there were ripples in space time that would enable us to understand exactly what happened at the point of the big bang and the creation of the universe.

Since Einstein’s time, physicists have been trying to detect these waves, and in 1993, the first evidence of existence was discovered, when evidence was found of these waves actually transmitting. This week however, our heroes have discovered evidence of these waves actually interacting with matter. And that, according to scientists and brainy people who have been on various radio and TV shows this week – is a very big deal, because these waves and this interaction occurred a trillionth of a second after the big bang.

At this point, I have no idea what these blokes are going on about – my solidly mediocre brain, which is currently in constant state of confusion over questions as simple as ‘would goal line technology be good for football’ and ‘would Scottish independence be good for the UK’ cannot compute the big bang or what happened a trillionth of a second afterwards (or a trillionth of a second before – which is the one that gets me, I mean, what was there before the beginning? Nothing? And when did ‘Nothing’ come into existence?) But, what I do know, is that the physicists are wonderful people whose incredible talent and dogged pursuit of knowledge is breathtaking. Who knows one day, people like them may provide the answer to life, the universe and everything and bloody good luck to them I say.

…. now back to goal line technology……

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: