Nav: Home

Looking for signs of the Big Bang in the desert

March 21, 2017

The silence of an immense desolate land in which to search for reverberations coming from the time at which everything began. The Simons Observatory will be built in the Chilean Atacama desert at an altitude of several thousand metres for the purposes of studying primordial gravitational waves which originated in the first instants of the Big Bang. The SISSA research group led by Carlo Baccigalupi and Francesca Perrotta will take part in this prestigious international project which will lead to the realization of an ultra-modern telescope project. Their role will involve studying and removing 'signal contaminants', emissions from our galaxy and other astrophysical objects which interfere with the analysis and study of primordial gravitational waves.

"Studying and measuring these waves, which originated just a few instants after the Big Bang means getting even closer to that zero-moment when the universe began". This is how cosmologists Carlo Baccigalupi and Francesca Perrotta explained the importance of the research which will see them involved in an international project funded by the Simons Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation. "It is one of the great astrophysics and cosmology themes on which a lot of work is being done and which is bringing us important new scientific discoveries and challenges thanks to the progress made with the Planck probe. The Simons Observatory, for which 40 million dollars have been set aside, will make a great contribution to this", continued the researchers.

Gravitational waves are distortions of the space-time curvature which propagate like waves. Foreseen by the theory of General Relativity but not by Newton's theory of gravity, these are phenomena which have only been directly observed extremely recently, in 2015, as a result of the work of the LIGO interferometer team, as emissions resulting from the collision of two black holes dozens of times bigger than the sun. This extraordinary discovery gave a further powerful boost to the scientific community's research into gravitational waves generated by the Big Bang.

The realization of the huge telescope project which will enable scientists to study these waves should begin in around two years' time. All of the research groups involved will be meeting up in California this summer to decide on the technical characteristics of this ultra-sophisticated tool. The first observations are expected by the end of the decade. In a joint project involving the United States, Japan and Europe, SISSA - for now the only Italian partner - will be playing an important role.

In the words of Baccigalupi and Perrotta: "Our research group, involving also Davide Poletti, Nicoletta Krachmalnicoff and Giuseppe Puglisi, together with european institutions such as the Paris Laboratory of Astrophysics and Cosmology and Imperial College, London, we will study signal contaminants, i.e. the emissions coming from our galaxy, such as dust or gas, which can interfere with the analysis of primordial gravitational waves. What we will do is to attempt to measure polluting signals and eliminate them by means of applying mathematical models to the data. The Simons Observatory will be the focus for a study which will play a part in an already well-established research line for the Trieste group. Also related to this, the SISSA team is a participant in RadioForegrounds, a project which is part of the European Commission's Horizon 2020 and of which Francesca Perrotta is the Italian lead.

The Atacama desert, with an area of more than 100,000 km2, is considered one of the driest places in the world and experiments are already under way there, with pre-existing telescopes such as that used in the POLARBEAR experiment (at an altitude of 5200 metres) in which SISSA's scientists are playing an active part studying the cosmic microwave background. Two further telescopes, called the Simons Array, are already being built in the same area. These will now be joined by the larger Simons Observatory telescope program.
-end-


Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati

Related Big Bang Articles:

'Big Food' companies have less power than you might think
A Dartmouth study finds that 'Big Food' companies are striving to make food more sustainable from farm to factory but have less power than you might think.
Looking for signs of the Big Bang in the desert
The Simons Observatory will be built in the Chilean Atacama desert for the purposes of studying primordial gravitational waves which originated in the first instants of the Big Bang.
More bang for the buck
Researchers find cost-effective solutions to sediment runoff and other land-based pollution affecting West Maui reefs
Big data for the universe
Astronomers at Lomonosov Moscow State University in cooperation with their French colleagues and with the help of citizen scientists have released 'The Reference Catalog of galaxy SEDs,' which contains value-added information about 800,000 galaxies.
Can big data yield big ideas? Blend novel and familiar, new study finds
Struggling to get your creative juices flowing for a new idea or project?
Why big brains are rare
Do big-brained creatures steal energy for them from other organs or eat more to supply this expensive tissue?
New antimatter breakthrough to help illuminate mysteries of the Big Bang
Swansea University physicists working with an international collaborative team at CERN, conduct the first precision study of antihydrogen, the antimatter equivalent of hydrogen.
Big data for little creatures
A multi-disciplinary team of researchers at UC Riverside has received $3 million from the National Science Foundation Research Traineeship program to prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers who will learn how to exploit the power of big data to understand insects.
How we escaped from the Big Bang
A Griffith University physicist is challenging the conventional view of space and time to show how the world advances through time.
Big PanDA tackles big data for physics and other future extreme scale scientific applications
A team of physicists just received $2.1 million in funding for 2016-2017 from DOE's Advanced Scientific Computing Research program to enhance a 'workload management system' for handling the ever-increasing data demands of two experiments at the Large Hadron Collider and expanding its use as a general workload management service for a Department of Energy supercomputer.

Related Big Bang Reading:

Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe
by Simon Singh (Author)

A half century ago, a shocking Washington Post headline claimed that the world began in five cataclysmic minutes rather than having existed for all time; a skeptical scientist dubbed the maverick theory the Big Bang. In this amazingly comprehensible history of the universe, Simon Singh decodes the mystery behind the Big Bang theory, lading us through the development of one of the most extraordinary, important, and awe-inspiring theories in science.

View Details


2018 The Big Bang Theory Wall Calendar (Day Dream)
by Day Dream (Author)

Spend the year with your favorite geniuses…. and friends, including Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, Raj, Penny, Amy, and Bernadette. View Details


The Big Bang Theory 2018 Day-at-a-Time Box Calendar
by Trends International (Author)

Get your learned laughs from Sheldon, Leonard, Penny, and the gang from The Big Bang Theory with these shots of your favorite scenes from the show. Nothing's off-limits when our heroes tackle another day sorely lacking in social skills in this conveniently sized 2018 The Big Bang Theory Mini Calendar printed on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Perfect for places with limited wall space, like Sheldon's white board. Sixteen months (Sep 2017Dec 2018). View Details


George and the Big Bang (George's Secret Key)
by Stephen Hawking (Author), Lucy Hawking (Author), Garry Parsons (Illustrator)

Explore how the universe began—and thwart evil along the way—in this cosmic adventure from Stephen and Lucy Hawking that includes a graphic novel.

George has problems. He has twin baby sisters at home who demand his parents’ attention. His beloved pig Freddy has been exiled to a farm, where he’s miserable. And worst of all, his best friend, Annie, has made a new friend whom she seems to like more than George. So George jumps at the chance to help Eric with his plans to run a big experiment in Switzerland that seeks to explore the earliest moment of the universe. But... View Details


The Big History Timeline Wallbook: Unfold the History of the Universe―from the Big Bang to the Present Day!
by Christopher Lloyd (Author), Andy Forshaw (Illustrator)

IMAGINE TAKING a trip through the history of everything from the beginning of the universe to the present day! Created in association with the American Museum of Natural History, this unique 'big history' wallbook includes a 6-foot fold-out timeline containing more than 1,000 pictures and captions that tell the story of the history of the world. The timeline is divided into 12 sections covering both natural history as well as the history of human civilizations in each of the world's continents so you can easily compare what was happening across the world at any given moment in time.... View Details


Genesis and the Big Bang: The Discovery Of Harmony Between Modern Science And The Bible
by Gerald Schroeder (Author)

In this groundbreaking book, physicist Gerald Schroeder takes on skeptics from both sides of the cosmological debate, arguing that science and the Bible are not at odds concerning the origin of the universe. View Details


Big Bang Theory Official 2018 Calendar - Square Wall Format
by Not Available (NA) (Author)

View Details


How to Build a Universe: From the Big Bang to the End of the Universe
by Ben Gilliland (Author)

The universe—demystified! Using a combination of eye-catching graphics, humor, and erudite storytelling, science illustrator Ben Gilliland shows us how the cosmos came to be, from the formation of the first particles in the Big Bang to the development of the stars, galaxies, and planets, leading us up to the present . . . and into the future. Each chapter builds the story of the universe piece by piece, highlighting groundbreaking discoveries in physics from the likes of Albert Einstein, Max Planck, and Peter Higgs, with fun and enlightening sidebars throughout. View Details


A Big Bang in a Little Room: The Quest to Create New Universes
by Zeeya Merali (Author)

An award-winning science writer takes us into the lab to answer some of life's biggest questions: How was the universe created? And could we create our own?

What if you could become God, with the ability to build a whole new universe? As startling as it sounds, modern physics suggests that within the next two decades, scientists may be able to perform this seemingly divine feat-to concoct an entirely new baby universe, complete with its own physical laws, star systems, galaxies, and even intelligent life. A Big Bang in a Little Room takes the reader on a journey through the... View Details


The Bitcoin Big Bang: How Alternative Currencies Are About to Change the World
by Brian Kelly (Author)

Get a handle on the digital currency revolution, and learn how to get on board

The Bitcoin Big Bang is a guide to navigating the uncharted territory of digital currency. Written by CNBC contributor Brian Kelly, this book goes beyond Bitcoin 101 to explain how this transformative technology is about to change the world. Digital currency is thrown into perspective against the history of payment systems and its own evolution, as readers are invited to explore the ways in which this technology is already changing the way business gets done. Readers gain insight into the... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2017

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2017. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Simple Solutions
Sometimes, the best solutions to complex problems are simple. But simple doesn't always mean easy. This hour, TED speakers describe the innovation and hard work that goes into achieving simplicity. Guests include designer Mileha Soneji, chef Sam Kass, sleep researcher Wendy Troxel, public health advocate Myriam Sidibe, and engineer Amos Winter.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#448 Pavlov (Rebroadcast)
This week, we're learning about the life and work of a groundbreaking physiologist whose work on learning and instinct is familiar worldwide, and almost universally misunderstood. We'll spend the hour with Daniel Todes, Ph.D, Professor of History of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University, discussing his book "Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science."