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- Science > Astronomy > Universe > Theories of the Universe
- Social Studies > Current Events Archives > Science > 2009
- Science > Physics > Quantum Mechanics > Teleportation
- Science > Physics > Particle Physics > Higgs Boson
- Science > Physics > Graphene
- Science > Astronomy > Universe
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- Science > Astronomy > Universe > Dark Matter
- Particle Physics - Introduction (Bradley)
Provides a description of key particles and forces that physicists believe are the building blocks of the universe. 7-00
- Particle Physics - Glossary of Terms (Bradley)
Provides a description of key particles and forces that physicists believe are the building blocks of the universe. 7-00
- Scientists Begin Quest to Detect Gravity Waves (SpaceDaily.com)
"Armed with one of the most advanced scientific instruments of all time, physicists are now watching the universe intently for the first evidence of gravitational waves." 6-03
- Witten, Edward and "M" Theory (BBC News)
"In the last few years, physicists have learned that the different string theories discovered and studied in different ways are limiting cases of a single, more powerful theory, known as M theory. "M" stands for magic, mystery, or matrix, according to taste. Some of these developments will be explained in this lecture."
"Edward Witten, professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., is arguably the premier theoretical physicist of our time. Renowned for his many contributions to particle physics and string theory, Witten has almost single-handedly constructed a new branch of mathematical physics." 11-03
- 03-18-04 Space Dust to Unlock Mexican Pyramid Mysteries (MSNBC News)
"Deep under the huge Pyramid of the Sun, north of Mexico City, physicists are installing a device to detect muons, subatomic particles that are left over when cosmic rays hit Earth."
"The particles pass through solid objects, leaving tiny traces which the detector will measure, like an X-ray machine, in a search for burial chambers inside the monolith." 3-04
- 08-17-04 Facts About American Competitors (Sports Illustrated)
"America's 531 Olympians include artists, doctors, soldiers, physicists, high school students and even a 52-year-old retiree." 8-04
- Feynman Diagrams (Stanford.edu)
Provides the Feynman diagrams used in particle physics. "Richard Feynman was the physicist who developed the method still used today to calculate rates for electromagnetic and weak interactionGlossary Term particle processes. The diagrams he introduced provide a convenient shorthand for the calculations. They are a code physicists use to talk to one another about their calculations." 01-06
- Loop Quantum Gravity (Wikipedia.org)
"Loop quantum gravity (LQG) is a proposed theory of spacetime which is built from the ground up with the idea of spacetime quantization via the mathematically rigorous theory of loop quantization. It preserves many of the important features of general relativity, such as local Lorentz invariance, while at the same time employing quantization of both space and time at the Planck scale in the tradition of quantum mechanics."
"This is not the most popular theory of quantum gravity; many physicists have philosophical problems with it. For one thing, the critics of this theory say that LQG is one theory of gravity and nothing more. There are many other theories of quantum gravity, and a list of them can be found on the Quantum gravity page." 01-06
- Planck Scale (Wikipedia.org)
"The Planck units are often semi-humorously referred to by physicists as 'God's units'. They eliminate anthropocentric arbitrariness from the system of units: some physicists believe that an extra-terrestrial intelligence might be expected to use the same system."
"At the 'Planck scales' in length, time, density, or temperature, one must consider both the effects of quantum mechanics and general relativity. Unfortunately this requires a theory of quantum gravity which does not yet exist."
"Most of the Planck units are either too small or too large for practical use, unless prefixed with large powers of ten." 01-06
- Large Hadron Collider (Wikipedia.org)
"The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a particle accelerator and collider located at CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland.... Currently under construction, the LHC is scheduled to begin operation (at reduced energies) in November 2007. The LHC is expected to become the world's largest and highest energy particle accelerator in 2008, when commissioning at 7 TeV is completed. The LHC is being funded and built in collaboration with over two thousand physicists from 34 countries, universities and laboratories." 03-07
- The Big Rip (NewScientist.com)
"Stand by for a nightmare end to the Universe - a runaway expansion so violent that galaxies, planets and even atomic nuclei are literally ripped apart. The scenario could play out as soon as 22 billion years from now."
" 'Until now we thought the Universe would either re-collapse to a big crunch or expand forever to a state of infinite dilution,' says Robert Caldwell of Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. 'Now we've come up with a third possibility - the "big rip".' "
"Most physicists probably will not be rooting for phantom energy. That is because if it exists, it will cause them all kinds of theoretical headaches. For example, Einstein's theory of gravity predicts the existence of minuscule wormholes - short cuts through space-time."
"Normally they snap shut so fast we never notice them. But phantom energy's repulsive gravity would be powerful enough to hold wormholes open, and perhaps even push them wide enough apart for spacecraft to use them for faster-than-light travel. 'This raises the spectre of time machines and all their paradoxes, which physicists find very uncomfortable,' says Caldwell." 10-07
- -01-26-09 Teleportation Is Real (Time.com)
"Depending on your favorite sci-fi yarns, teleportation is either a very, very bad idea (see: The Fly) or a very, very cool one (see: Star Trek). For scientists, it's just very, very complex, so much so that at this point, teleportation is not a matter of moving matter, but of transporting information. Already, physicists have been able to exchange information between light particles — or photons — or between atoms so long as they were right next to each other. The current experiment marks the first in which information has traveled a significant distance — 1 meter, or a little less than 3 ft. — between two isolated atoms." 01-09
- -02-27-09 The World May Be a Giant Hologram (NewScientist.com)
"The holograms you find on credit cards and banknotes are etched on two-dimensional plastic films. When light bounces off them, it recreates the appearance of a 3D image. In the 1990s physicists Leonard Susskind and Nobel prizewinner Gerard 't Hooft suggested that the same principle might apply to the universe as a whole. Our everyday experience might itself be a holographic projection of physical processes that take place on a distant, 2D surface."
"The "holographic principle" challenges our sensibilities. It seems hard to believe that you woke up, brushed your teeth and are reading this article because of something happening on the boundary of the universe. No one knows what it would mean for us if we really do live in a hologram, yet theorists have good reasons to believe that many aspects of the holographic principle are true." 02-09
- Did a Time-Traveling Bird Sabotage the Collider? (Time.com)
"While most scientists would write off the event as a freak accident, two esteemed physicists have formulated a theory that suggests an alternative explanation: perhaps a time-traveling bird was sent from the future to sabotage the experiment." 09-08
- Pair Win Nobel Prize for Investigating Graphene (New York Times)
"A pair of Russian-born physicists working at the University of Manchester in England have won the Nobel Prize in Physics for investigating the remarkable properties of ultrathin carbon flakes known as graphene, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Tuesday."
"Graphene is a form of carbon in which the atoms are arranged in a flat hexagon lattice like microscopic chicken wire, a single atom thick. It is not only the thinnest material in the world, but also one of the strongest and hardest."
"Among its other properties, graphene is able to conduct electricity as well as copper does and to conduct heat better than any other known material, and it is practically transparent. Physicists say that it could eventually rival silicon as a basis for computer chips, serve as a sensitive pollution-monitoring material, improve flat-screen televisions, and enable the creation of new materials and novel tests of quantum weirdness." 10-10
- Understanding the Universe (Time.com)
"It turns out that Brian Greene isn't all that different from you or me. Sure, he's a top-flight theoretical physicist on the faculty of the ultra-prestigious Columbia University. And yes, he specializes in string theory, which uses such advanced and difficult math that even many physicists can't follow it. In one crucial way, however, Greene really is like the rest of us."
"In a nation in which so many people deny evolution and think vaccines cause rather than prevent disease, Greene's got a big job ahead of him. But if he keeps churning out compelling video like The Fabric of the Cosmos, he might actually get people to understand at least a little bit of modern physics — and a bigger bit of the world it makes possible." 12-11
- Higgs Boson Gets Clearer (CNN News)
"Finding the Higgs boson would help explain the origin of mass, one of the open questions in physicists' current understanding of the way the universe works."
"Scientists working on two independent experiments at the Tevatron accelerator in Batavia, Illinois, see patterns in data that might - just might - be indicative of signals from a Higgs boson. If so, that particle would have a mass between 115 to 135 GeV." 03-12
- -New Data Suggest a Paradox at the Event Horizon (PBS.org)
" In 2012, Polchinski and his colleagues found a problem with the event horizon. As particles enter the event horizon, they’re ripped apart. As these particles break down, their research showed, they release a burst of energy, creating a firewall around the center of the black hole. This has become known as “the firewall paradox.” This notion of the event horizon as a highly energetic region throws another wrench in Einstein’s theory, which said that nothing special should happen at the event horizon."
"That’s where Hawking’s latest paper comes in, suggesting physicists need to rethink that event horizon. His latest proposal suggests that there is in fact no event horizon to burn up. Instead, the apparent horizon becomes the real boundary." 10-14
- -03-15-15 Scientists Search for Dark Matter With Hadron Collider (PBS.org)
"The massive particle collider runs in a 17-mile circumference ring under the Switzerland-France border. In 2013, physicists used the high-energy particle smasher to find the elusive Higgs boson. The Higgs boson explained why particles have mass, an idea first proposed in the 1960s."
"It was a monumental achievement for the field of physics. It was the final piece in the Standard Model of physics, the theory which describes the particles that make up the universe and the forces between them."
"One mystery physicists hope to unlock in the next phase of experiments is dark matter. Scientists estimate that dark matter makes up 85 percent of the universe, Mike Lamont, operations group leader for CERN, told CNN. It’s invisible, and it would explain effects physicists can observe on radiation and visible matter in the universe." 3-15
- Scientists Have Detected Gravity Waves (New York Times)
"A team of physicists who can now count themselves as astronomers announced on Thursday that they had heard and recorded the sound of two black holes colliding a billion light-years away, a fleeting chirp that fulfilled the last prophecy of Einstein’s general theory of relativity."
"That faint rising tone, physicists say, is the first direct evidence of gravitational waves, the ripples in the fabric of space-time that Einstein predicted a century ago (Listen to it here.). And it is a ringing (pun intended) confirmation of the nature of black holes, the bottomless gravitational pits from which not even light can escape, which were the most foreboding (and unwelcome) part of his theory."
"More generally, it means that scientists have finally tapped into the deepest register of physical reality, where the weirdest and wildest implications of Einstein’s universe become manifest."
Editor's note: Some of this description, such as the power emitted, may be incorrect." 02-16