The Big Bang theory is one theoretical explanation for the early development of the universe. At that time, the universe was in an extremely hot and dense state and began expanding rapidly and creating mass.
According to a March 17, report by Boston.com, "In a landmark discovery about the first moments of the universe, a team led by a Harvard astronomer announced Monday it had found proof of what happened just after the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. Using a telescope-BICEP2, at the South Pole, the scientists detected a distinct pattern in the distant cosmos that reveals there was a hyper-expansion of our universe known as inflation."
"This is one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time,” said Max Tegmark, a physicist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Harvard scientists also captured the first images of gravitational waves, which were predicted a century ago by Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
As the universe continues to expand today, "what we see now is still a coasting expansion, originating from the Big Bang," said Alan Guth, the MIT physicist who first proposed the theory of cosmic inflation.
Reportedly, the Harvard scientists detected the swirly polarization pattern, called B-mode polarization, (the original starting point of the expansion). If confirmed by other experiments, it will be strong evidence of inflation and help guide scientists in further exploration.