George Smoot: He Found the Remnants of the Beginning of Time


Today's the birthday of George Smoot,

One of the astrophysics  gang.

Herein his laurels I will toot

For finding the evidence of the Big Bang.

"We had observed the oldest and largest structures ever seen in the early universe," the cosmologist George Smoot explained on April 23, 1992, after announcing that his team of scientists had discovered wrinkles in the fabric that made up the early universe. "These were the primordial seeds of modern-day structures such as galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and so on. Not only that, but they represented huge ripples in the fabric of space-time left from the creation period." As team leader for the group that designed and studied information from one of the three instruments on the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite, Smoot is responsible for the best picture of the early universe available to science. Using instruments carried by balloon, on U-2 spy planes, and finally by satellite, Smoot has spent the last twenty years examining the faint but ever present microwave radiation remnants from the time when light first became visible in the universe, 300,000 years after the big bang and 15 billion years ago. Destroying the conception of the universe then held by most astronomers, in 1977 Smoot discovered that our galaxy is not only involved in the general expansion as is everything in the universe, but it is also travelling over a million miles per hour relative to the universe's expansion, demonstrating that matter was distributed unevenly throughout the universe, instead of uniformly as was thought. Smoot shook the scientific community again with his 1992 announcement of ripples in space. Called "the discovery of the century, if not of all time," by Stephen Hawking, Smoot's uncovering of ripples in space dating from the early universe has for the first time given theorists hard data to use in determining the mechanism of creation of the universe. [Current Biography Vol. 55, No.4, April 1994]

Filed under: astronomy, science


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  • Thanks, AW---What a great post!

    Love that book title. Could it be inspired by "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle?

    What a coincidence there's a special on 50th anniversary of the Big Bang theory tonight! See

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    Thanks, WG. I thought the same about the title. And I looked in on this morning but there were glitches in the webcast. You're so right...what a coincidence!

  • On the other hand, there was all the misbegotten publicity of the debate between the creationist and Bill Nye the Science Guy.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, how so "misbegotten"? Were you disappointed in Nye?

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    I wasn't impressed by the whole concept. They could have played 100 hours of Nova in hi def and brought in Brian Greene and it wouldn't make any difference to the creationist.

    Of course, yesterday's puzzlement was a promotion on Fox that it is presenting a Nova-like show with Neil deGrasse Tyson on all its networks. A little web search indicates that it is supposed to be a sequel to Carl Sagan's Cosmos, but, like most things on Fox other than The Simpsons, produced by Seth MacFarland. Maybe they shoot Roger the Blob back to his origins.

    Speaking of quantum physics, Mr. Peabody and Sherman are coming back to the big screen in 3D.

  • In reply to jack:

    It is ironic that Fox which lives in the bubble of Biblical literalism should be airing deGrasse Tyson and Cosmos Redux. An aberration like the Simpsons.

    About Mr. Peabody et al on the big screen, I first got wind of this at Barnes & Noble earlier this month when I came upon a wonderful companion book on how the movie became reality.

    I see your point about the debate. But maybe it did make a few on Ham's side rethink the evidence.

  • In reply to jack:

    And won't everybody's life be so improved when the 'enlightened' group finally proves to the creationist's that their evil beliefs are not only wrong but unintelligent. Maybe as a bonus all their faith and hopes will be destroyed.

    What the Hades?! Didn't you guy's watch Star Trek?

  • In reply to 4zen:

    My point was that maybe the enlightened group is not so enlightened if they are attempting to prove to the creationists anything. Sort of like telling Dennis Byrne to get off Planned Parenthood, Obamacare, or anything else. As I told him, I'm not giving him click count, and similarly, I don't care what or if the creationists think.

    As for Star Trek, Brian Greene said that "beam me up Scottie" was possible, but didn't clarify whether it was actually you being beamed up, or a replica consisting of other pieces of elemental matter rearranged in the same manner.

  • In reply to jack:

    Ha, that may explain some events in my own home.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    Science and faith are not incompatible. The conflict here is between science (the enlightened) and the strict constructionists, if you will, of the Bible (the benighted).

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