The Early Universe

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SLAC, Stanford Scientists Play Key Roles in Confirming Cosmic Inflation

Two scientists at Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory made key contributions to the discovery of the first direct evidence for cosmic inflation – the rapid expansion of the infant universe in the first trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.

Physicists Find Evidence of Cosmic Inflation

Researchers from the BICEP2 collaboration have announced the first direct evidence supporting the theory of cosmic inflation. Their data also represent the first images of gravitational waves, or ripples in space-time. These waves have been described as the "first tremors of the Big Bang."

Cosmic Rays on Demand

In a SLAC test facility, scientists have set the stage for an experiment that mimics what happens when incredibly energetic cosmic ray particles hit our atmosphere. While the experiment is part of ANITA, which sends balloon-borne instruments into the upper atmosphere, the results could benefit a broad range of other experiments.

Symmetry: The Universe's Earliest Moments

How is it possible to look at the earliest moments of the universe? Physicists have their ways—and what they find out will tell us a lot about how the universe works today and how it will unfold in the future.

Mock Data, Real Science

In scientific circles, “mock” is not always a four-letter word. To test that they’re interpreting their massive amounts of data correctly, astrophysicists create even more data: “mock” data. And while that may be counterintuitive at first, it actually makes a surprising amount of sense.

Cosmos Seeded with Heavy Elements During Violent Youth

Traces of iron spread smoothly throughout a massive galaxy cluster tell the 10 billion-year-old story of exploding supernovae and fierce outbursts from supermassive black holes sowing heavy elements throughout the early cosmos.

Dark Energy Survey Begins

Word of the official beginning of the Dark Energy Survey (DES) starts a five-year clock on a meticulous mapping of one-eighth of the night sky by the Dark Energy Camera, mounted on the Victor M.

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