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Over the Universe—The Best Reactions to the Big Physics News

These swirls in the cosmic microwave background show the effect of primordial gravitational waves.BICEP2

Scientists, on the whole, are a circumspect lot. When faced with a microphone or reporter’s notepad, most of them (excepting a vocal minority) hedge and temper their language, adding provisos and qualifications, burying significant news behind accurate but unexciting jargon. So when they break out of that mold en masse and start making big claims in bold language, it’s usually a good time to listen. 

This is exactly what happened yesterday after a news conference on results from BICEP2, a detector in Antarctica that measures the cosmic microwave background, an afterglow from the Universe’s early period. The team running

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