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See physicist surprised by news his Big Bang theory was right

Stanford Professor Andrei Linde gets a little choked up when a colleague delivers the news that his theory of cosmic inflation has been verified by the observation of primordial gravitational waves.

Stanford Professor Andrei Linde celebrates the apparent validation of his theory of cosmic inflation. Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

Physicists on Monday revealed a major discovery in our understanding of how everything got started by spotting gravitational waves that can be traced back to the exponential expansion that occurred in the fractions of a second after the Big Bang.

These ripples in space-time back up a theory of cosmic inflation developed by physicists Alan Guth and Andrei Linde in the early 1980s. Linde is now a professor at Stanford and could not hide his excitement when he first learned of the discovery from his colleagues.

"These results are a smoking gun for inflation, because alternative theories do not predict such a signal," he said in a statement. "This is something I have been hoping to see for 30 years."

Stanford Assistant Professor Chao-Lin Kuo took a cameraman and some champagne with him when he delivered the news to Linde at his home that one of his major life works had just been confirmed.

Give it a watch below. It's a nice reminder that there's a human side to scientific discoveries that can seem so inconceivably distant from our daily lives. Cheers, Professor Linde!