During debates over the value of science, the words "it's just a theory" is thrown around quite a bit. Try as they might, brave souls such as Bill Nye try to explain scientific theory and why it has value, even if we can't be 100% positive we know what is going on. After all, how can we know every single thing about even a tiny part of the world?
However, sometimes theory is shown to be a valid foundation to our understanding of the world. These are dream events that are often never seen by those who laid that groundwork. Darwin never saw his theory of natural selection popularized... we now have specific degrees in evolutionary studies! A life's work... a satisfaction he never got.
The life of a scientist.
Sometimes, just sometimes, advancement in a field of study can happen unexpectedly. That is exactly what happened this week: the first direct evidence for the ultra-rapid expansion at the dawn of the universe was found. The Big Bang.
Besides the immense social and scientific impacts of this finding, one man who laid that groundwork was able to see his theory confirmed. His life's work is not only supported theoretically, but with undeniable proof. The satisfaction of a job well done was caught on video here: Andrei Dmitriyevich Linde's Inflationary Universe Theory is Confirmed.
The true joy of being a scientist, professional or novice, is the exploration and discovery of something new and amazing.
As Andrei Dmitriyevich Linde states at minute 1:46 of the video:
"I leave with this feeling, what if I am tricked?... what if I believed [my theory] just because it is beautiful?"
He then thanks the young scientist who gave him the news because now he knows the theory isn't just beautiful, it's true.
Link to the research: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/03/17/290866227/scientists-announce-a-big-bang-breakthrough
Results of their analyses: http://bicepkeck.org/