The Beginning of Time

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Science  22 Mar 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5563, pp. 2223-2225
DOI: 10.1126/science.1070262

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Sky maps of primordial radiation show tiny variations in brightness caused by small amplitude perturbations in the structure of spacetime. According to inflation theory, they were created in the very early universe on a subatomic level and were then stretched to enormous size by cosmic expansion. Similar fluctuations led to the gravitational formation of all the structure we see today. In his Perspective, Hogan discusses recent and upcoming efforts to characterize better the primordial fluctuations, and how they may help in the search for the connection between quantum mechanics and gravity