It took more than three decades, but the thesis that came out of Stanford professor Andrei Linde’s lifework has now been confirmed. A scientist who has been working with a team at the South Pole surprised Linde at his home with new evidence that confirmed the inflation theory, which states that the universe experienced rapid expansion a fraction of a second after the Big Bang. Linde first proposed the theory in 1983.
“5-sigma, r is .2,” assistant professor Chao-Lin Kuo told a startled Linde and his wife. The two popped a bottle of champagne in celebration.
Via PolicyMic. For those wondering, here’s what the number Kuo shared means:
The ratio is used to evaluate the strength of different models of the early universe by comparing the contribution of gravitational waves with other effects. A ratio of zero would mean that no gravitational radiation exists, ruling Linde’s inflation theory out. As for the sigma value, a statistical threshold corresponding to around 5 is a common standard of accuracy required to announce scientific discoveries.
So a non-zero r-value, with a sufficient sigma-value is elating news for Linde because it means that the data is accurate and supports his theoretical model for the early universe.