Big bang claim fizzles out (Thinkstock)
Big bang claim fizzles out

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Scientists who made headlines last March by announcing that they'd found long-sought evidence about the early universe are abandoning that claim.

New data show that their cosmic observations no longer back up that conclusion.

The original announcement caused a sensation because it appeared to show evidence that the universe ballooned rapidly a split-second after its birth, in what scientist call cosmic inflation. That idea had been widely believed, but researchers had hoped to bolster it by finding a particular trait in light left over from the very early universe.

That signal is what the researchers claimed they had found in observations of the sky taken from the South Pole, in a project called BICEP2.

But now, in a new paper submitted for publication, "we are effectively retracting the claim," said Brian Keating of the University of California, San Diego, a member of the BICEP2 team.

"It's disappointing," he said, after the European Space Agency publicized the results. "But it's important to know the truth."

The new analysis was conducted by BICEP2 researchers plus scientists who worked with the European Planck satellite, which provided new data to help interpret the original observations.

In essence, Keating said, the analysis shows that the source of the signal observed by BICEP2 isn't necessarily the very early universe. Instead, it's equally likely to have come from dust in our galaxy, which would mean it does not provide the evidence BICEP2 had claimed.

That possibility had been raised by other scientists soon after the announcement last March. When the BICEP2 team published its results in June it acknowledged it might have been fooled by the dust, but it still stood by its initial conclusions.

Keating said the search for the signal from the early universe would continue. And the new analysis has helped, he said, by showing how to avoid being misled by the galactic dust.

Critical thinking challenge: Why was it important for the scientists to retract their claim?

Assigned 18 times

  • KiraWvA-4
    2/05/2015 - 11:32 p.m.

    Proof for the widely-believed "Big Bang theory" collected from a project in the South Pole called BICEP2, has now been debunked as false, because the dust it analyzed was not necessarily from the very early universe, it was from our galaxy. One of the members of the BICEP2 group said that saying their claim of the proof was false was disappointing, "but it's important to know the truth." The analysis that proved it false was important though, for it helped researchers know how not to be fooled by the wrong dust. I liked this article because the scientists involved did not try to "save" their reputation by insisting it was right even after it had been proved wrong, they owned up and did not lose their jobs or dignity. Refreshing.

  • Js2001ege
    2/06/2015 - 08:41 a.m.

    "we are effectively retracting the claim," said Brian Keating of the University of California, San Diego, a member of the BICEP2 team."It's disappointing," he said, after the European Space Agency publicized the results. "But it's important to know the truth"
    Its important so scientist can find out the truth

  • AB2000soccer
    2/06/2015 - 08:41 a.m.

    It is important for scientist to retract their claim because they found evidence that no longer backed up their conclusion. The new evidence changed what they thought and it made their final results change. They wanted the people to know the truth and did not want them thinking something that was not true.

  • McConnellN-Tan
    2/06/2015 - 08:46 a.m.

    I think that being fooled by the dust is true, although we should be able to measure past the dust and find the truth in the near future. It would be nice to be able to find out how the universe started.

  • GolickiL-Tan
    2/06/2015 - 08:49 a.m.

    I like how the people who got the experiment wrong said that they messed up because if they just left it alone then we wouldn't figure out how the universe was actually made. I think that if hey change there experiment that they did in the South pole was changed or modified then they could get the results they wanted, they could even fly way out into space and did the same experiment then they could get better results.

  • christianc-DiB
    2/06/2015 - 09:04 a.m.

    I think this is important to know how our solar system was created so that people can be informed that how one little think can make a different and there are more galaxies that we have to explore.

  • EhmanAustin-DiB
    2/06/2015 - 09:39 a.m.

    It was important for them to retract there evidence becuase they were wrong. It also shows that they care about what goes around because if they didn't retraxt It people would think something that isn't true.

  • ColemanAnthony-DiB
    2/06/2015 - 09:43 a.m.

    this was a good tell you that science is always changing througthout the history of the world.soon a new theroy will come along.

    2/06/2015 - 01:09 p.m.

    since the claim was incorrect, they had to retract it. there should not be a false statement as the claim of how everything all started.

  • bronemies
    2/06/2015 - 01:19 p.m.

    The BIg Bang is a sciencetific version of God seperating darkness and light. Trying to prove how the universe was created is already hard but now the sciencetest are abandoning the idea about the big bang theory. There are several wasy people claim how the universe was created gbut proving how it was created is the toughest scientific challenge.

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