Quantum fluctuations during the Big Bang are imprinted in gravitational waves, the cosmic microwave background, and in the structure of today's Universe. Studying the Big Bang means detecting those imprints. Einstein's theories led to the Big Bang model, but they are silent on these questions as well as the simplest: 'What powered the Big Bang?' Modern theoretical ideas that try to answer these questions predict that the wrinkles COBE discovered arose from two kinds of primordial particles: of the energy field that powered the Big Bang; and gravitons, fundamental particles of space and time.
Measurements by missions of the Beyond Einstein program could separate these different contributions, allowing us to piece together the story of how time, space, and energy worked together to power the Big Bang.
'Physics is mathematical not because we know so much about the physical world, but because we know so little; it is only its mathematical properties that we can discover.'