The Jazz of Physics by Stephon Alexander

The Jazz of Physics by Stephon Alexander

Author:Stephon Alexander
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780465098507
Publisher: Basic Books
Published: 2016-03-25T04:00:00+00:00

FIGURE 10.1. The regions A and B represent microwave radiation with the same temperature from regions that were not able to interact with each other. The big bang model lacks a causal means for these regions to reach thermal equilibrium, unless they had longer than the lifetime of the universe to do so.

Soon after the discovery of the CMB, a young graduate student, Bruce Partridge, and his professor, David Wilkinson, built a detector to see whether the radiation from 380,000 years after the big bang was as featureless as Copernican uniformity would imply. They were hoping to find irregularities, called the CMB anisotropy, to understand where the irregular structures, such as star clusters and galaxies, come from.

The idea was that if there existed tiny undulations in the primeval fireball, they would have grown with the expansion of the universe into large density fluctuations—variations that would cause gravitational instability and hence the beginning of the gravitational collapse of matter into structures. It was a beautiful theory: anisotropies as the seeds that gave birth to large-scale structure. Finding them would shed light on how the universe evolved from a Copernican beginning to our current, and rather different, cosmos. Unfortunately for Partridge and Wilkinson, their detector wasn’t capable of measuring any anisotropy. The hunt, however, went on.


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