Beyond the Outer Limits

Maps of radiation left over from the Big Bang may show traces of universes besides our own.

For Laura Mersini-Houghton, it’s been a surprisingly short journey from Tirana, Albania, to the edge of the universe. Step one came 20 years ago, when she moved to the United States as a Fulbright scholar, studying physics at the University of Maryland. Step two came a decade later, when she began exploring novel ways to merge quantum theory and cosmology. Step three arrived in May 2009 with the launch of the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite, which soon began making detailed ...

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