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. It appeared to show evidence that the universe ballooned rapidly a split-second after its birth. Scientists call it 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. They had taken observations of the sky 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. He is with the University of California, San Diego, a member of the BICEP2 team.

"It's disappointing," he said. "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. The satellite 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. That would mean it does not provide the evidence BICEP2 had claimed.

That possibility had been raised by other scientists. 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. It showed how to avoid being misled by the galactic dust.

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

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COMMENTS (77)
  • OttoB
    2/05/2015 - 02:35 p.m.

    I think it was important for the scientist to retracts there claim because it wasn't the real deal but a bunch of galactic dust floating around in space. If they didn't retract it, it could cause a huge debate that would eventually lead to the losing side being humiliated by dust and the scientist probably losing there jobs.

  • ksadat-5
    2/05/2015 - 03:56 p.m.

    Last March, scientists claimed to have found long sought evidence about the beginning of the universe. Now, those scientists are abandoning that claim. The signal found in a project called BICEP2 was most likely caused by galactic dust, instead of a piece of evidence that could have been related to the beginning of the universe. Theories about the origin of the universe, are very diverse, but the most common one, the Big Bang, was proven wrong.

    I think that this is very bad that the scientists made a mistake about finding a piece of evidence that related to the origin of the universe. This is bad because they have been teaching as ell as talking about it in multiple schools across the nation. Now that this claim is wrong, the scientists have to find a temporary place holder for the mistake to keep their good reputation. I think that they should have done more research instead of jumping to the point.

  • ChrisSPink
    2/05/2015 - 05:58 p.m.

    I think that is a cool that you discovered the light. That can change the world probably . I hope that you guys/women discover more about it.

  • DylanM-4
    2/05/2015 - 06:50 p.m.

    Scientists have uncovered new information about the start of the Universe. Last March, scientists discovered that the Universe is always growing. Just a week ago, scientists at the south pole did an experiment that proved there was another Universe before the one that we currently live. I think its important to find out the way that our Universe started, to be able to predict the future.

  • JonathanAA-4
    2/05/2015 - 07:27 p.m.

    This article is about how the Big Bang Theroy wasn't true. Scientists are taking this information back to continue their research on how the death started. This was a major topic that made the front pages of many newspapers. I thought this article was interesting because i want to see the new and improved research about the truth about the Big Bang theroy.

  • GriffinO-5
    2/05/2015 - 08:24 p.m.

    Recently, scientists who thought they discovered evidence about the Big Bang have been disproved. BICEP2 thought that they had discovered a special trait in light left behind from the Big Bang. Recent scientists discovered that this evidence that they found was actually just dust from our universe. This false lead will not stop BICEP2 from continuing to search for the special trait.
    Personally I think with recent technology we will soon find the answer to the creation of the universe .

  • KeaganB-1
    2/05/2015 - 10:16 p.m.

    Scientists who last march believed they found the answer to the big Bang has reclaimed their statement. The scientists originally had evidence on cosmic inflation. Due to new information recently found the scientists are retracting their claim. This project was called BICEP2. The scientists had believed they found dust from the big bang but it could have just been regular star dust. I think this article is very interesting and I hope they find an answer.

  • ConnorK-2
    2/05/2015 - 11:13 p.m.

    Once human society thinks it knows how the universe started, the rug gets pulled right from underneath their feet. Scientists who work for BICEP2, released information stating they found remnants of the early stage of the universe. This claim is huge, so, another group of scientists decided to test this. The findings they ended up with were not similar. They ended up finding large amounts of space dust. BICEP2 ended up being fooled by remnants of old space dust. BICEP2 later went on to say their findings were wrong, so that rumors or questions wouldn't arise. I am glad they decided to admit they were wrong because that would be better than continually saying you were right, while all the evidence pointed in the wrong direction.

  • vincentg-2
    2/06/2015 - 12:08 a.m.

    The theory of the Big Bang has been debunked. Scientists have found out that the possible fact of cosmic inflation. It states that right after the universe was formed it inflated and expanded almost luke a balloon.

  • devinm-Koc
    2/06/2015 - 01:04 a.m.

    I think that there was a big bang but I also think that god created the universe . But who really knows how we all got here.

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