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Public Feud Over Big Bang Theory Roils Scientific Community

Open letter by Stephen Hawking & 33 other physicists rebuts attack on cosmic origin story.

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The world’s leading minds in physics are fiercely defending the leading theory on how the universe began.

Stephen Hawking and 33 physicists just wrote an open letter railing against a Scientific American article that discounted the cosmic model.

The controversial article, written by three physicists and published in February, argued against the dominant idea—called inflation theory—that the universe expanded rapidly after the Big Bang. Anna Ijjas, Paul J. Steinhardt, Abraham Loeb said that new research in cosmic microwaves and the lack of evidence of primordial gravitational waves weaken the argument for the inflation model.

The article ignited the firestorm because it effectively called the inflation theory a phony model, saying it promoted “some kind of non-empirical science” because it couldn’t be tested. In response, Hawking and the 33 other physicists fired back.

“We have no idea what scientists they are referring to. We disagree with a number of statements in their article, but in this letter, we will focus on our categorical disagreement with these statements about the testability of inflation,” the authors of the open letter, also published in Scientific American, said.

This letter, in turn, prompted a rebuttal from the article’s authors, but the debate will only end once more evidence proves or disproves the theory.

Read full story at Scientific American