Imagine knowing that a discovery you’ve made will bring you a Nobel Prize … only to suddenly learn that it was based on an error. In 2014, Brian Keating, a professor at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences at the University of California, San Diego, led a team that reported finding one of cosmology’s most treasured secrets: proof of the theory of cosmic inflation. But a few months later, they had to withdraw their claim as flawed. Keating talked to host Steven Strogatz about why he chases the universe’s greatest mysteries and what it was like to have a major discovery slip out of his grasp. This episode was produced by Camille Peterson. Read more at QuantaMagazine.org. Production and original music by Story Mechanics.