An esoteric bet between two renowned physicists has taken another twist:
The bet between Professors Stephen Hawking and Neil Turok was about the inflation theory of the early universe and the existence of gravitational waves.
In March this year the US BICEP team said it had found a pattern on the sky left by the rapid expansion of space fractions of a second after the Big Bang at the beginning of the universe. Professor Hawking said the finding was another confirmation of inflation. He also clamed he'd won a bet with Professor Turk whose Cyclic Universe Theory predicts no gravitational waves from the early universe.
However, new data has found that the group may have underestimated the influence on the data of dust in our own galaxy. Professor Turok said 'The BICEP experiment claimed that 20% of the fluctuations from the Big Bang were due these gravitational waves, the sign of inflation. However, Planck satellite data now confirms that the limit is less than 10%.
On this evidence, Professor Turok has suggested to Professor Hawking that they should refine their bet.
Comment: Theoretical physics is an exciting field of research.