Physicists have long speculated that a massive, universe-creating explosion would produce some sort of enormous observable shockwave. But they've never been able to find proof that such an aftershock — which would indicate an event like the Big Bang actually happened — did indeed ripple through space billions of years ago.
That is, until now. Harvard scientists announced Monday that they found evidence of gravitational waves — "ripples in the universe," as Scientific American's Clara Moskowitz put it. Such a finding could help prove the decades-old theory of inflation, which holds that the entire observable universe hurtled outward into existence after an initial explosion. Using a high-powered telescope based at the South Pole to conduct an experiment known as Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization, the scientists detected signs of gravitational waves just a teensy fraction of a second after the Big Bang is believed to have happened.
The finding has yet to be confirmed by other experts, but if it holds up, it would be a groundbreaking revelation in the field. So to all the physicists out there: