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Making an Impact

A Glimpse Into the Beginning of Time

Simons Array

What if we could glimpse the inception of our universe’s expansion? “I’ve always been interested in answering the biggest questions, and this is the biggest question of all,” said Brian Keating, a professor of physics at UC San Diego. “The very first Neanderthals must have looked up and wondered, ‘Where did everything come from?’ We’re finally able to start to answer those questions.”

Scientists at UC San Diego are closer than ever to seeing the first few moments of time after the Big Bang some 13.8 billion years ago thanks to donated funds totaling $40 million. The grant was provided by the Simons Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation in support of the ground-breaking Simons Observatory in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

With the funding, scientists will be capable of searching more than half the sky for the signature of the gravitational waves from the earliest universe, as well as gain insights into the nature of dark energy, how gravity imposed structure on the universe, and more.

“The generosity of this award is unprecedented in our field, and will enable a major leap in scientific capability,” said Keating, who is the current project director.

The Simons Observatory involves a consortium of researchers from several universities, including astrophysicists from UC San Diego. Together, detecting these ancient signals would have profound impacts for not only understanding how the universe was formed, but also the fundamental physics that govern it.


Giving Contacts

Peter K. Sanders
Senior Director of Development
(858) 221-3763

John Sawyer
Director of Development
(858) 246-3295