Watch a Physicist Learn He Was Right About the Big Bang

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 18 2014 12:16 PM

What It's Like to Learn You Were Right About the Big Bang

"Five sigma." When you're a physicist and founding father of a theory that has gone unproven over the course of thirty years, there are few words better to hear. And those are the words that greeted Stanford professor Andrei Linde—the first to describe the chaotic inflation theory—when he opened his door for Chao-Lin Kuo, a Stanford professor who had come to personally deliver the news that Linde had been correct about the universe's first moments all along.*

Kuo was part of the team who recently found evidence of the universe's rapid expansion immediately following the big bang, an event that Linde had long been sure had occurred. The findings of Kuo's team—which had been led by John M. Kovac—were enough to declare that Linde's theory had been proved correct with a confidence level of five sigma, the highest possible.

Advertisement

"If this is true, this is a moment of understanding of nature of such a magnitude that it just overwhelms," Linde said, after hearing the news from Kuo. "Thank you so much for doing it." You can watch the video of Linde's vindication above.

Corrections, March 20, 2014: This post previously misspelled the name of Stanford University and misidentified Chao-Lin Kuo as an astronomer for the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics—he is employed by Stanford.

A.J. McCarthy is a Slate Video blogger.

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

How Canada’s Shooting Tragedies Have Shaped Its Gun Control Politics

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?

Science

“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 22 2014 6:30 PM The Tragedies That Have Shaped Canada's Gun Politics
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 4:10 PM Skinny Mark Wahlberg Goes for an Oscar: The First Trailer for The Gambler
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.