Finnish Guest Syksy Räsänen Gives Physics Colloquium on Gravity Waves

Professor Syksy Räsänen from the University of Helsinki and the Helsinki Institute of Physics in Finland visited the Department of Physics at Birzeit University on Wednesday April 16, 2014 and gave a colloquium titled “Gravity Waves: a message from the first second of the universe.”

The month prior, the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization2 (BICEP2) Experiment at the South Pole announced that gravity waves from the primordial universe has been detected. This is a very significant discovery in fundamental physics for this century and it will open up new areas of research in Astronomy and Cosmology, Professor Rasanen said.

A pattern called B-mode was found in the polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) by the BICEP2 Experiment. CMB is the oldest light in the universe, dating back to 380,000 years after the Big Bang. Professor Räsänen explained that Einstein predicted gravitational waves about a hundred years ago in his famous theory of general relativity when his equations coupled time and space to explain how “spacetime” was wrapped by energy and matter to gives rise to the force of gravity.

The results from the BICEP2 Experiment need to be confirmed by other experiments, and if true, these results will strongly support the idea of “Cosmic Inflation” that was proposed about 30 years ago. According to this idea, at the early moments of the universe, it expanded at an accelerating rate and this extreme expansion lasted for just a tiny fraction of a second.

“We need to wait for the results from other experiments to be published in the near future, most likely from the Planck Satellite data which is going to be published in October this year,” Räsänen said as he finished his seminar.

More information on Professor Räsänen and his research interests can be found at