astroengine writes "For the first time, scientists have found direct evidence of the expansion of the universe, a previously theoretical event that took place a fraction of a second after the Big Bang explosion nearly 14 billion years ago. The clue is encoded in the primordial cosmic microwave background radiation that continues to spread through space to this day. Scientists found and measured a key polarization, or orientation, of the microwaves caused by gravitational waves, which are miniature ripples in the fabric of space. Gravitational waves, proposed by Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity nearly 100 years ago but never before proven, are believed to have originated in the Big Bang explosion and then been amplified by the universe's inflation. 'Detecting this signal is one of the most important goals in cosmology today,' lead researcher John Kovac, with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said in a statement."