A team of Canadian physicists has developed a new way to improve our knowledge of the Big Bang by measuring radiation from its afterglow, called the cosmic microwave background radiation. The team’s results, published in the journal Foundations of Physics, predict the maximum bandwidth of the Universe, which is the maximum speed at which any change can occur in the Universe.
The cosmic microwave background is a reverberation or afterglow left from when the Universe was about 300,000 years old.
It was first discovered in 1964 as a ubiquitous faint noise in radio antennas.
In the past two decades, space-based telescopes like ESA’s Planck satellite have started to measure it with great accuracy, revolutionizing our understanding of the Big Bang.
Professor Achim Kempf from the University of Waterloo, Canada, led the work to develop the new calculation, jointly with Aidan Chatwin-Davies and Robert Martin.
“It’s like video on the Internet,” Professor Kempf said.
“If you can measure the cosmic microwave background with very high resolution, this can tell you about the bandwidth of the Universe, in a similar way to how the sharpness of the video image on your Skype call tells you about the bandwidth of your internet connection.”
“Teams of astronomers are currently working on even more accurate measurements of the cosmic microwave background,” the researchers said.
“By using the new calculations, these upcoming measurements might reveal the value of the Universe’s fundamental bandwidth, thereby telling us also about the fastest thing that ever happened, the Big Bang.”
Achim Kempf. Quantum Gravity, Information Theory and the CMB. Foundations of Physics, published online April 5, 2018; doi: 10.1007/s10701-018-0163-2