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Researchers Find "Groundbreaking" Proof of Cosmic Inflation

What's being held as one of the most significant scientific breakthroughs in decades has created a flurry of media attention this week.

Researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics say they've discovered our first direct proof of cosmic inflation - the theory that the universe expanded much, much faster than the speed of light in the moments after the Big Bang.

For some insight into how big of a deal this news really is, we talked to Dr. Karl Gebhardt at the University of Texas in Austin. He's an astrophysics professor and also the Project Scientist for the upcoming Dark Energy Experiment McDonald Observatory's Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HETDEX.)

Keep in mind when we talk about the "moments" after the Big Bang, we mean fractions of a second.

This theory of the early universe has been around for over three decades, but experts say if this latest discovery holds up, it could one of the most significant breakthroughs in how we understand the birth of our world.

The  New York Times recently said this discovery could "open up vast realms of time and space and energy to science and speculation." Some scientists are even saying the researchers' findings could open up the realm of possibilities for "multiverses."

Travis Bubenik is All Things Considered Host and Big Bend Reporter at Marfa Public Radio.