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During this inflationary era, space expanded faster than the speed of light. It sounds crazy, but it fits a variety of cosmological observations made in recent years, said University of Chicago physicist Bruce Winstein.
"Theorists take it to be true, but we have to prove it," said Winstein, the Samuel K. Allison Distinguished Service Professor in Physics at the University of Chicago. "It needs a real test, and that test is whether or not gravity waves were created."
Winstein and his Chicago associates are part of the international QUIET (Q/U Imaging ExperimenT; the Q and U stand for radiation parameters called Stokes parameters) collaboration that has devised such a test.
QUIET's goal: detect remnants of the radiation emitted at the earliest moments of the universe, when gravity waves rippled through the very fabric of space-time itself.