The Dark Sector Lab (DSL), located 3/4 of a mile from the Geographic South Pole, houses the BICEP2 telescope (left) and the South Pole Telescope (right). (Steffen Richter, Harvard University)

The MIT Physics Department and MIT Lecture Series Committee present

Speakers: Alan Guth, Scott Hughes, John Kovac, and Max Tegmark"The BICEP2 Results and What They Mean: The First Observation of Gravitational Waves from the Early Universe"

On March 17, 2014, the BICEP2 collaboration, using results from a telescope at the South Pole, announced the observation of swirls in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background radiation that we believe were caused by gravitational waves in the early universe. These gravitational waves have been described as the smoking-gun evidence for cosmological inflation. According to the New York Times, if corroborated, this work "will stand as a landmark in science comparable to the recent discovery of dark energy pushing the universe apart, or of the Big Bang itself." The speakers at this event will discuss the results of BICEP2, and the background for understanding the results and their implications.


Thursday, April 3 | 7:30 PM | Room 26-100



  • Alan Guth, originator of inflationary cosmology, Professor of Physics, MIT
  • Scott Hughes, Associate Professor of Physics, MIT
  • John Kovac, leader of the BICEP2 project, Associate Professor of Astronomy and Physics, Harvard University
  • Max Tegmark, Professor of Physics, MIT
  • Moderated by Edward Farhi, Professor of Physics and Director of the Center for Theoretical Physics, MIT


Sponsored by the MIT Physics Department and MIT Lecture Series Committee