An astrophysicist whose dreams were dashed by dust discusses the award’s downsides in a new book
Losing the Nobel Prize
W.W. Norton & Co., $27.95
Dust may seem insignificant, but in science, it can cost you a Nobel Prize.
That’s what happened to Brian Keating, a major contributor to the BICEP2 team that claimed in 2014 to have found the first definitive evidence of cosmic inflation (SN: 4/5/14, p. 6), a period of extremely rapid expansion just after the Big Bang. Months later, the evidence crumbled: A swirling pattern, seen in light released 380,000 years after the universe’s birth, was due to cosmic dust bunnies, not inflation (SN: 2