(In honor of the mainstream media calling everything scandalous “X-gate”, I’ve decided to call anything not-Foley related “X-gate” to highlight the rediculousness of trying to make any scandal sound like the Watergate Hotel scandal of the 70s.)
The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to John C. Mather and George F. Smoot for their work in analyzing early-universe microwave background energy using the COBE sattelite launched in 1989. From the Nobel site:
According to the Big Bang scenario, the cosmic microwave background radiation is a relic of the earliest phase of the Universe. Immediately after the big bang itself, the Universe can be compared to a glowing “body emitting radiation in which the distribution across different wavelengths depends solely on its temperature. The shape of the spectrum of this kind of radiation has a special form known as blackbody radiation. When it was emitted the temperature of the Universe was almost 3,000 degrees Centigrade. Since then, according to the Big Bang scenario, the radiation has gradually cooled as the Universe has expanded. The background radiation we can measure today corresponds to a temperature that is barely 2.7 degrees above absolute zero. The Laureates were able to calculate this temperature thanks to the blackbody spectrum revealed by the COBE measurements.
Wow, from 3000 degrees C to 2.7 “degrees above absolute zero”. For you non-scienty types out there, that doesn’t mean 2.7 degrees C. It really corresponds to -270.45 degrees C, or 2.7 Kelvins. At absolute zero (-273.15 degrees C, or 0 Kelvins) all molecular motion stops. That means atoms stop vibrating, electrons stop orbiting. It’s a theoretical place of no-movement. Scientists have gotten close to absolute zero. Here’s a press release from UW Madison using laser-cooling to reduce moelcular motion to almost nil.
What is singificant about this research is that it confirms a “hot event” (Big Bang) as a slow energy decay over billions of years would give a background energy reading that low. Other cosmologicaltheories cannot account for background microwave radiation, so the idea of a Big Bang seems to be the best model we have for the beginnings of the universe.