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Waves from the Big Bang

The detection of gravitational waves in the afterglow of the Big Bang — if confirmed — opens a new chapter in astronomy, cosmology and physics. The signature, seen by the BICEP2 radio telescope at the South Pole, packs at least three discoveries into one: It provides the most direct evidence for the existence of the waves predicted by Einstein; it is the proof of ‘cosmic inflation’ that physicists had been eagerly awaiting; and it opens a window into the unification of the fundamental forces of nature and into quantum gravity. In this special collection, Nature News has the most comprehensive and up-to-date coverage of the breakthrough and its aftermath.

Image credit: BICEP2 Collaboration

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News

News Features

  • Cosmology: The test of inflation

    As the launch of the Planck spacecraft approaches, Eric Hand investigates what the mission could mean for the predominant theory of the moments after the Big Bang.

    Nature (25 April 2009)

  • Gravitational astronomy: Hearing the heavens

    The cosmos is thought to be awash with gravitational waves to which humanity is, as yet, deaf. Trudy E. Bell reports on LISA, an experiment on an unprecedented scale designed to put that right.

    Nature (05 March 2008)

  • Profile: Polar star

    After years of work in the Antarctic, John Kovac and his team have captured strong evidence for a long-held theory about the Universe’s birth.

    Nature (31 March 2014)

  • FIrst light

    The CMB has given up what may be its last great secret, but astronomers are determined to mine more from this primordial prize.

    Nature (14 May 2014)

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  • Newschat

    Why physicists were so giddy about the sighting of hints of gravitational waves.

    Nature (19 March 2014)

  • Relativity revival

    Cosmologist Pedro Ferreira reveals what the theory has taught us so far, and what it still has to offer.

    Nature (10 February 2014)

News from the Archive

News and Views

  • Gravity: Trying to catch the wave

    Experiments aimed at finding Einstein's elusive gravitational waves have reached their designed sensitivity. Yet we are still waiting for the first detection. What can we learn from this?

    Nature Physics (01 July 2010)

  • Astrophysics: Gravity ripples chased

    Discovering gravitational waves would not only validate Einstein's theory of gravitation but also reveal aspects of the Universe's earliest moments. The hunt for these elusive ripples is now well under way.

    Nature (19 August 2009)

  • Astrophysics: Gravitational waves constrained

    Cosmic gravitational waves could provide unprecedented information on the early Universe. The effects that are of interest are small, but experiments are gradually achieving a sensitivity that will test cosmological models.

    Nature (07 June 2007)

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