LARGE AND SMALL NUMBERS. Of course, there is no chance that I can understand what the new findings about the Big Bang mean. What I am left with is amazement at the scale of the scientific work—both large and small. Krauss explains that the new findings deal with a theory called Inflation, proposed by Alan Guth in 1979, which “might imply that the universe expanded in size by over thirty orders of magnitude in a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, increasing in size by a greater amount in that instance than it has in the fourteen billion years since”. The orders of magnitude are hard to believe or comprehend—the sliver of a second, the increase in size, the 14 billion years since it happened.
The precision of the instruments that the scientists have developed to investigate these distances is exemplified by the statement by Krauss that in the attempt to detect gravitational waves, scientists “have built huge detectors, here on Earth, that are so sensitive that they can detect a force that changes the length of a two-mile-long detector by an amount smaller than a single proton.”