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Universal discovery for scientists

Evidence of rapid growth spurt seen

  • In this 2007 photo provided by Steffen Richter, the sun sets behind the BICEP2 telescope, foreground, and the South Pole Telescope in Antarctica. In the faint glowing remains of the Big Bang, scientists found "smoking gun" evidence that the universe began with a split-second of astonishingly rapid growth from a seed far smaller than an atom. To find a pattern of polarization in the faint light left over from the Big Bang, astronomers scanned about 2 percent of the sky for three years with the BICEP2 at the south pole, chosen for its very dry air to aid in the observations, said the leader of the collaboration, John Kovac of Harvard. (AP Photo/Steffen Richter)

    In this 2007 photo provided by Steffen Richter, the sun sets behind the BICEP2 telescope, foreground, and the South Pole Telescope in Antarctica. In the faint glowing remains of the Big Bang, scientists found "smoking gun" evidence that the universe began with a split-second of astonishingly rapid growth from a seed far smaller than an atom. To find a pattern of polarization in the faint light left over from the Big Bang, astronomers scanned about 2 percent of the sky for three years with the BICEP2 at the south pole, chosen for its very dry air to aid in the observations, said the leader of the collaboration, John Kovac of Harvard. (AP Photo/Steffen Richter)

  • In this 2007 photo provided by Steffen Richter, the sun sets behind the BICEP2 telescope, foreground, and the South Pole Telescope in Antarctica. In the faint glowing remains of the Big Bang, scientists found "smoking gun" evidence that the universe began with a split-second of astonishingly rapid growth from a seed far smaller than an atom. To find a pattern of polarization in the faint light left over from the Big Bang, astronomers scanned about 2 percent of the sky for three years with the BICEP2 at the south pole, chosen for its very dry air to aid in the observations, said the leader of the collaboration, John Kovac of Harvard. (AP Photo/Steffen Richter)

    In this 2007 photo provided by Steffen Richter, the sun sets behind the BICEP2 telescope, foreground, and the South Pole Telescope in Antarctica. In the faint glowing remains of the Big Bang, scientists found "smoking gun" evidence that the universe began with a split-second of astonishingly rapid growth from a seed far smaller than an atom. To find a pattern of polarization in the faint light left over from the Big Bang, astronomers scanned about 2 percent of the sky for three years with the BICEP2 at the south pole, chosen for its very dry air to aid in the observations, said the leader of the collaboration, John Kovac of Harvard. (AP Photo/Steffen Richter)

  • This image provided by the BICEP2 Collaboration shows slight temperature fluctuations, indicated by variations in color, of the cosmic microwave background of a small patch of sky and the orientation of its polarization, shown as short black lines. Researchers say since the cosmic microwave background is a form of light, it exhibits all the properties of light, including polarization. The changes in a particular type of polarization, indicated here, are theorized to be caused by gravitational waves. These waves are signals of an extremely rapid inflation of the universe in its first moments. (AP Photo/BICEP2 Collaboration)

    This image provided by the BICEP2 Collaboration shows slight temperature fluctuations, indicated by variations in color, of the cosmic microwave background of a small patch of sky and the orientation of its polarization, shown as short black lines. Researchers say since the cosmic microwave background is a form of light, it exhibits all the properties of light, including polarization. The changes in a particular type of polarization, indicated here, are theorized to be caused by gravitational waves. These waves are signals of an extremely rapid inflation of the universe in its first moments. (AP Photo/BICEP2 Collaboration)

  • This image provided by the BICEP2 Collaboration shows slight temperature fluctuations, indicated by variations in color, of the cosmic microwave background of a small patch of sky and the orientation of its polarization, shown as short black lines. Researchers say since the cosmic microwave background is a form of light, it exhibits all the properties of light, including polarization. The changes in a particular type of polarization, indicated here, are theorized to be caused by gravitational waves. These waves are signals of an extremely rapid inflation of the universe in its first moments. (AP Photo/BICEP2 Collaboration)

    This image provided by the BICEP2 Collaboration shows slight temperature fluctuations, indicated by variations in color, of the cosmic microwave background of a small patch of sky and the orientation of its polarization, shown as short black lines. Researchers say since the cosmic microwave background is a form of light, it exhibits all the properties of light, including polarization. The changes in a particular type of polarization, indicated here, are theorized to be caused by gravitational waves. These waves are signals of an extremely rapid inflation of the universe in its first moments. (AP Photo/BICEP2 Collaboration)

  • This image provided by the BICEP2 Collaboration shows slight temperature fluctuations, indicated by variations in color, of the cosmic microwave background of a small patch of sky and the orientation of its polarization, shown as short black lines. Researchers say since the cosmic microwave background is a form of light, it exhibits all the properties of light, including polarization. The changes in a particular type of polarization, indicated here, are theorized to be caused by gravitational waves. These waves are signals of an extremely rapid inflation of the universe in its first moments. (AP Photo/BICEP2 Collaboration)

    This image provided by the BICEP2 Collaboration shows slight temperature fluctuations, indicated by variations in color, of the cosmic microwave background of a small patch of sky and the orientation of its polarization, shown as short black lines. Researchers say since the cosmic microwave background is a form of light, it exhibits all the properties of light, including polarization. The changes in a particular type of polarization, indicated here, are theorized to be caused by gravitational waves. These waves are signals of an extremely rapid inflation of the universe in its first moments. (AP Photo/BICEP2 Collaboration)

  • CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, chats with a friend in a lounge at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, chats with a friend in a lounge at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, chats with a friend in a lounge at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, chats with a friend in a lounge at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Scientists, from left, Clem Pryke, Jamie Bock, Chao-Lin Kuo and John Kovac smile during a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014, regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now these researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Scientists, from left, Clem Pryke, Jamie Bock, Chao-Lin Kuo and John Kovac smile during a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014, regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now these researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Scientists, from left, Clem Pryke, Jamie Bock, Chao-Lin Kuo and John Kovac smile during a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014, regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now these researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Scientists, from left, Clem Pryke, Jamie Bock, Chao-Lin Kuo and John Kovac smile during a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014, regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now these researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, chats with a friend in a lounge at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, chats with a friend in a lounge at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, chats with a friend in a lounge at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, chats with a friend in a lounge at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, chats with a friend in a lounge at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, chats with a friend in a lounge at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Scientists at right, from bottom, John Kovac, Chao-Lin Kuo, Jamie Bock and Clem Pryke hold a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014, regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now these researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. At top, right is Marc Kamionkowski, a theoretical physicist at Johns Hopkins University who didn’t participate in the work. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Scientists at right, from bottom, John Kovac, Chao-Lin Kuo, Jamie Bock and Clem Pryke hold a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014, regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now these researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. At top, right is Marc Kamionkowski, a theoretical physicist at Johns Hopkins University who didn’t participate in the work. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Scientists at right, from bottom, John Kovac, Chao-Lin Kuo, Jamie Bock and Clem Pryke hold a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014, regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now these researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. At top, right is Marc Kamionkowski, a theoretical physicist at Johns Hopkins University who didn’t participate in the work. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Scientists at right, from bottom, John Kovac, Chao-Lin Kuo, Jamie Bock and Clem Pryke hold a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014, regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now these researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. At top, right is Marc Kamionkowski, a theoretical physicist at Johns Hopkins University who didn’t participate in the work. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, looks out from her dorm building at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, looks out from her dorm building at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, looks out from her dorm building at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, looks out from her dorm building at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, looks out from her dorm building at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, looks out from her dorm building at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Scientists, from left, Clem Pryke, Jamie Bock, Chao-Lin Kuo and John Kovac smile during a news conference regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now these researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Scientists, from left, Clem Pryke, Jamie Bock, Chao-Lin Kuo and John Kovac smile during a news conference regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now these researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Scientists, from left, Clem Pryke, Jamie Bock, Chao-Lin Kuo and John Kovac smile during a news conference regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now these researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Scientists, from left, Clem Pryke, Jamie Bock, Chao-Lin Kuo and John Kovac smile during a news conference regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now these researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Physicist Alan Guth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology asks a question during a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014, after researchers gave a presentation about their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Physicist Alan Guth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology asks a question during a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014, after researchers gave a presentation about their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • Physicist Alan Guth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology asks a question during a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014, after researchers gave a presentation about their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

    Physicist Alan Guth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology asks a question during a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014, after researchers gave a presentation about their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

  • In this 2007 photo provided by Steffen Richter, the sun sets behind the BICEP2 telescope, foreground, and the South Pole Telescope in Antarctica. In the faint glowing remains of the Big Bang, scientists found "smoking gun" evidence that the universe began with a split-second of astonishingly rapid growth from a seed far smaller than an atom. To find a pattern of polarization in the faint light left over from the Big Bang, astronomers scanned about 2 percent of the sky for three years with the BICEP2 at the south pole, chosen for its very dry air to aid in the observations, said the leader of the collaboration, John Kovac of Harvard. (AP Photo/Steffen Richter)
  • In this 2007 photo provided by Steffen Richter, the sun sets behind the BICEP2 telescope, foreground, and the South Pole Telescope in Antarctica. In the faint glowing remains of the Big Bang, scientists found "smoking gun" evidence that the universe began with a split-second of astonishingly rapid growth from a seed far smaller than an atom. To find a pattern of polarization in the faint light left over from the Big Bang, astronomers scanned about 2 percent of the sky for three years with the BICEP2 at the south pole, chosen for its very dry air to aid in the observations, said the leader of the collaboration, John Kovac of Harvard. (AP Photo/Steffen Richter)
  • This image provided by the BICEP2 Collaboration shows slight temperature fluctuations, indicated by variations in color, of the cosmic microwave background of a small patch of sky and the orientation of its polarization, shown as short black lines. Researchers say since the cosmic microwave background is a form of light, it exhibits all the properties of light, including polarization. The changes in a particular type of polarization, indicated here, are theorized to be caused by gravitational waves. These waves are signals of an extremely rapid inflation of the universe in its first moments. (AP Photo/BICEP2 Collaboration)
  • This image provided by the BICEP2 Collaboration shows slight temperature fluctuations, indicated by variations in color, of the cosmic microwave background of a small patch of sky and the orientation of its polarization, shown as short black lines. Researchers say since the cosmic microwave background is a form of light, it exhibits all the properties of light, including polarization. The changes in a particular type of polarization, indicated here, are theorized to be caused by gravitational waves. These waves are signals of an extremely rapid inflation of the universe in its first moments. (AP Photo/BICEP2 Collaboration)
  • This image provided by the BICEP2 Collaboration shows slight temperature fluctuations, indicated by variations in color, of the cosmic microwave background of a small patch of sky and the orientation of its polarization, shown as short black lines. Researchers say since the cosmic microwave background is a form of light, it exhibits all the properties of light, including polarization. The changes in a particular type of polarization, indicated here, are theorized to be caused by gravitational waves. These waves are signals of an extremely rapid inflation of the universe in its first moments. (AP Photo/BICEP2 Collaboration)
  • CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, chats with a friend in a lounge at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, chats with a friend in a lounge at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Scientists, from left, Clem Pryke, Jamie Bock, Chao-Lin Kuo and John Kovac smile during a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014, regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now these researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Scientists, from left, Clem Pryke, Jamie Bock, Chao-Lin Kuo and John Kovac smile during a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014, regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now these researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, chats with a friend in a lounge at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, chats with a friend in a lounge at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, chats with a friend in a lounge at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Scientists at right, from bottom, John Kovac, Chao-Lin Kuo, Jamie Bock and Clem Pryke hold a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014, regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now these researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. At top, right is Marc Kamionkowski, a theoretical physicist at Johns Hopkins University who didn’t participate in the work. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Scientists at right, from bottom, John Kovac, Chao-Lin Kuo, Jamie Bock and Clem Pryke hold a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014, regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now these researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. At top, right is Marc Kamionkowski, a theoretical physicist at Johns Hopkins University who didn’t participate in the work. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, looks out from her dorm building at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, looks out from her dorm building at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • CORRECTS NAME OF ORGANIZATION TO GLOBAL CITIZEN YEAR INSTEAD OF GLOBAL CITIZEN - Freshman Lydia Collins, 19, looks out from her dorm building at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., Thursday, March 13, 2014. Collins took a year after high school and worked in Ecuador through Global Citizen Year. Tufts is starting its own program, hoping to remove the financial barriers that keep cash-strapped students from taking a year off after high school to travel or volunteer, and thereby offer an opportunity now typically only available to more affluent students to explore different communities and challenge their comfort zones before starting college. This “gap year” program launching this fall will pay for housing, airfare and even visa fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Scientists, from left, Clem Pryke, Jamie Bock, Chao-Lin Kuo and John Kovac smile during a news conference regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now these researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Scientists, from left, Clem Pryke, Jamie Bock, Chao-Lin Kuo and John Kovac smile during a news conference regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now these researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Physicist Alan Guth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology asks a question during a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014, after researchers gave a presentation about their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
  • Physicist Alan Guth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology asks a question during a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, March 17, 2014, after researchers gave a presentation about their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Scientists say that the universe was born almost 14 billion years ago, exploding into existence in an event called the Big Bang. Now researchers say they’ve spotted evidence that a split-second later, the expansion of the cosmos got a powerful-jump start. Experts called the discovery a major advance if confirmed. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Researchers said they have spotted evidence that a split-second after the Big Bang, the newly formed universe ballooned out at a pace so astonishing that it left behind ripples in the fabric of the cosmos.

If confirmed, experts said, the discovery would be a major advance in the understanding of the early universe. Although many scientists already believed that an initial, extremely rapid growth spurt happened, they have long sought the type of evidence cited in the new study.

The results reported yesterday emerged after researchers peered into the faint light that remains from the Big Bang of nearly 14 billion years ago.

The discovery “gives us a window on the universe at the very beginning,” when it was far less than one-trillionth of a second old, said theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State University, who was not involved in the work.

“It’s just amazing,” Krauss said. “You can see back to the beginning of time.”

Marc Kamionkowski, a theoretical physicist at Johns Hopkins University who did not participate in the research, said the finding is “not just a home run.

“It’s a grand slam.”

He and other experts said the results must be confirmed by other observations, a standard caveat in science.

Right after the Big Bang, the universe was a hot soup of particles. It took about 380,000 years to cool enough that the particles could form atoms, then stars and galaxies. Billions of years later, planets formed from gas and dust that were orbiting stars. The universe has continued to spread out.

Krauss said he thinks the new results could rank among the greatest breakthroughs in astrophysics over the last 25 years, such as the Nobel prize-winning discovery that the universe’s expansion is accelerating.

Yesterday’s findings were announced by a collaboration that included researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the University of Minnesota, Stanford University, the California Institute of Technology and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The team plans to submit its conclusions to a scientific journal this week, said its leader, John Kovac of Harvard.

Astronomers scanned about 2 percent of the sky for three years with a telescope at the South Pole, where the air is exceptionally dry.

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