UVA professor receives grant to study beginning of the universe

Imagine studying a photo of the universe from 13.8 billion years ago.

That’s what a UVA professor just received a grant to do from the National Science Foundation. The goal — to take a picture of the beginning of the universe.

On a small scale, it’s like how light from the sun takes eight minutes to travel to Earth.

In order to get that image of the past, researchers are building the Simons Observatory, located high on a mountain in Chile.

“What we’re really looking for is, we’re looking for the very beginning of the universe, we think there was an epic of space-time expansion called inflation,” UVA Professor Bradley Johnson said. “And that would have left that would have created gravitational waves, that propagate out into the universe.”

Johnson’s lab is able to work on pieces of the telescope at UVA. He says if all goes well, the first photos will be taken next year.

About the Author:

Lauren Helkowski joined WSLS 10’s digital team in August 2022, but has held a passion for storytelling long before.