A new search for ripples in space from the beginning of time

Anna Kofman and Simon Dicker, scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, at work inside the large cryogenic receiver for the Simons Observatory’s large aperture telescope while it was open before its installation. (Mark Devlin/University of Pennsylvania via The New York Times)

Images of the planet Jupiter created using data collected by some of the Simons Observatoryճ microwave detectors. The observations helped the Simons Observatory team calibrate the way they remove noise created by Earth’s atmosphere. (N. Dachlythra et al./The Astrophysical Journal 2024 via The New York Times)

The universe burst into existence 13.8 billion years ago. What happened in that earliest moment is of intense interest to anyone trying to understand why everything is the way it is today.