TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.



Showing posts with label Big Bang. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Big Bang. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Time Moves Backwards and Other Space-Time Headlines


Image Source: New Scientist.

There are several notable, mind-bending and possibly related recent scientific headlines. Four new elements have been confirmed, completing the seventh row of the periodic table (ununtrium (Uut or element 113), ununpentium (Uup, element 115), ununseptium (Uus, element 117), and ununoctium (Uuo, element 118)). The Guardian confirms that these elements are synthetic, created by "slamming lighter ­nuclei into each other and tracking the following decay of the radioactive superheavy elements. Like other superheavy elements that populate the end of the periodic table, they only exist for fractions of a second before decaying into other elements."

Then there is a report that time arises organically and moves in different directions in adjacent multiverses. The idea rests on problems with the way we define time as a function of the behaviour of matter, with the parts we can't explain disappearing into universes we cannot see. The associated notion that time flows backwards comes from Sean Carroll at the California Institute of Technology at Pasadena and Alan Guth at MIT. On 13 January 2016, The New Scientist reported:
Guth and Carroll's work is motivated by a problem vexing physicists and philosophers: why it is that time's arrow points in just one direction. It's true we can only remember the past ... but the laws of physics don't much care which way time flows: any physical process run backwards still makes sense according to those laws.

There's no such thing, at a very deep level, that causes [must] precede effects, says Carroll.

In the absence of other laws to set the direction of time, physicists have settled on entropy – basically, a measure of messiness. As entropy grows, time ticks forward. For example, you can stir milk into coffee but you can't stir it back out again – so neatly separated black coffee and milk always comes first.

“We can't talk to beings in a time-reversed cosmos: they are in our past and we in their past.” Zooming out to the entire universe, we likewise define the future as that direction of time in which entropy increases. By studying the motion of faraway galaxies, we can predict how the cosmos will evolve. Or we can rewind time back to the big bang, when the universe must have had much less entropy.

Try to rewind further and we meet a cosmological conundrum. We can't proceed if the big bang was indeed the beginning of time, but in that case, why did it have such low entropy? And if it wasn't the beginning of time – as Guth suspects – we'd still want to know how an eternal universe could have reached such a low-entropy state that would allow for the arrow of time to form.

In an as yet unpublished model, Guth and Carroll explore the latter idea. They drop a finite cloud of particles, each zipping around with its own randomly assigned velocity, into an infinite universe. After a while, arrows of time emerge spontaneously.

The random starting conditions mean that half the particles initially spread outwards, increasing entropy, while the other half converge on the centre, decreasing entropy, then pass through and head outwards. Eventually the whole cloud is expanding, and entropy is rising in tandem. Crucially, this rise happens even if you reverse time by flipping the starting velocity of every particle: ultimately, all particles will end up travelling outwards. If entropy grows either way, who's to say which way the arrow of time should point?

We call it the two-headed arrow of time, Guth says. Because the laws of physics are invariant, we see exactly the same thing in the other direction.

The model shows that an arrow of time arises spontaneously in an infinite, eternal space. Since this allows entropy to grow without limit, time zero could simply be the moment where entropy happened to be at its lowest.

That could explain why the big bang, the earliest moment we can see, has so little entropy. But it also feels a little like a cheat: if entropy can be infinite, anything can have relatively low entropy by comparison.

The point that Alan and I are trying to make is that it's very natural in those circumstances that almost everywhere in the universe you get a noticeable arrow of time, Carroll says, though he admits the model still needs work. Then of course you do the work of making it realistic, making it look like our universe. That seems to be the hard part.

If the model matches reality, it would have implications for more than just our own observable universe. This is intended to describe the whole of existence, which would mean the multiverse, Guth says. In his view, the arrow of time may have arisen in a parent or grandparent universe of our own.
In the next headline, supermassive black holes might be hiding whole universes inside them. The New Scientist:
Black holes may be hiding other universes. A quirk of how space-time behaved in the early universe could have led to short-lived wormholes connecting us to a vast multiverse. If borne out, the theory may help explain how supermassive black holes at the centres of galaxies grew so big so fast. The idea that ours is just one of a staggering number of universes - what cosmologists call the multiverse - is a consequence of our leading theory of how the universe grows: eternal inflation.

The theory holds that during its early phase, space-time expanded exponentially, doubling in volume every fraction of a second before settling into a more sedate rate of growth. Eternal inflation was devised in the 1980s to explain some puzzling observations about our universe that standard big bang theory alone couldn't handle.

But cosmologists soon realised that the inflationary universe came with caveats. Quantum mechanical effects, which normally only influence the smallest particles, played an important role in how all of space-time evolved.

One of these effects was that a small patch of space-time within the larger universe could shift into a different quantum state, forming a bubble. Such bubbles could form at random throughout our inflating universe. [Thus:] “Our universe could even look like a black hole to physicists in some other universe”
In other news, the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) which has detectors in Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana, USA, may have discovered the existence of gravitational waves, which are ripples in the fabric of space-time. Wired:
Gravitational waves tell the story of the universe’s mass. Every object from black hole to supernova, everything from black hole collisions (the most likely explanation for this potential LIGO discovery) to superfast expansion of the universe has its own gravitational fingerprint. From those swirls, astronomers will be able to learn about spacetime, gravity, and the objects themselves. And no one knows what they’ll find out.
Critics urge caution about this report, which might have more to do with the internal workings of the cosmology profession than the workings of space-time. If true, it could be a huge discovery, proving the "last unproven prediction of Einstein's theory of general relativity." The Guardian:
According to the rumours, [LIGO] scientists on the team are in the process of writing up a paper that describes a gravitational wave signal. If such a signal exists and is verified, it would confirm one of the most dramatic predictions of Albert Einstein’s century-old theory of general relativity.

[Professor Lawrence] Krauss[, cosmologist at Arizona State University,] said he was 60% confident that the rumour was true, but said he would have to see the scientists’ data before drawing any conclusions about whether the signal was genuine or not.

Researchers on a large collaboration like Ligo will have any such paper internally vetted before sending it for publication and calling a press conference. In 2014, researchers on another US experiment, called BICEP2, called a press conference to announce the discovery of gravitational waves, but others have since pointed out that the signal could be due entirely to space dust.

Speaking about the LIGO team, Krauss said: “They will be extremely cautious. There’s no reason for them to make a claim they are not certain of.”

If gravitational waves have been discovered, astronomers could use them to observe the cosmos in a way that has been impossible to date. “We would have a new window on the universe,” Krauss said. “Gravitational waves are generated in the most exotic, strange locations in nature, such as at the edge of black holes at the beginning of time. We are pretty certain they exist, but we’ve not been able to use them to probe the universe.” Einstein predicted that the waves would be produced in extremely violent events, such as collisions between two black holes. As gravitational waves spread out, they compress and stretch spacetime.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cosmic Reproduction


Pan Spermia In The Veil of Her Moon (2005) © Roger Ferragallo.

The new Millennium loves the cross-pollination of ideas, mainly because of the computing revolution in communications. An episode ("Is The Universe Alive?" 13 June 2012) of Through the Wormhole covers a Millennial theory in physics that the universe, or even the multiverse, may be alive. This theory, put forward by Lee Smolin, applies Darwin's idea of natural selection to the propagation of universes (see my earlier post on how physicists are appropriating Darwin's theory to their ends). Smolin argues that universes reproduce themselves through black holes and form attached daughter universes. Thus our universe may be "just one member in a giant family tree of cosmoses." Smolin finds many parallels and analogies between biological life processes and cosmic reproduction.

Theoretical physicists then ask whether this tree of cosmoses is alive, or possibly even sentient. They wonder whether we could find the brain of this living cosmic tree.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Higgs Boson's Age of New Gods

Image Source: Spaceports.

Freedom. Today, one of the world's most powerful nations celebrates freedom and independence. It is no coincidence that the scientists at CERN in Switzerland chose today to announce the discovery of the Higgs boson particle, the so-called 'God particle,' in the Large Hadron Collider. The press conference (here and here) started live at 2 a.m EST.

In the United States, Fermilab's Tevatron collider was closed on 30 September 2011, after scant funding from the Obama administration. This is ironic, since the Tevatron lies outside Chicago. Although the Tevatron's discoveries contributed greatly to the understanding of particle physics, credit for finding the final part of the Standard Model goes to Europe. In the strain of competition, Tevatron's scientists announced more of their final results on 2 July 2012 (see reports here and here). They did not find the Higgs boson particle, but they got closer to it. American physicists will rejoice at this discovery in the name of their science. But in the name of their country, this is a disappointment for big American physics. It is therefore all the more ironic that CERN is announcing findings on 4 July. You can see popularly-renowned American physicist Brian Greene discuss the importance of this discovery and the post-Higgs world here (Hat tip: Spaceports).

Image Source: Wired.

For years, the Higgs particle has been a maddening hypothesis essential to proving the Standard Model. Today's experimental results placed the Higgs boson right on the line between the theoretical and the real. You can see a video of a 2011 CERN ATLAS proton collision here; ATLAS is one of two teams at CERN which have searched for independent confirmation of the Higgs particle. The other is CMS.

In the past week, the elusive particle's experimental confirmation was surrounded by bloggingrumours and leaks. BBC comments on how huge this discovery is:
A confirmation would be one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the century; the hunt for the Higgs has been compared by some physicists to the Apollo programme that reached the Moon in the 1960s.
Perhaps today's announcement is bigger than the moon landing. The Higgs particle delves into the fascinating mystery of the Big Bang. The particle emerged out of the imagination and mathematics, has entered confirmed reality, and now invites more abstractions. The discovery paves the way for another hypothesis, in effect opens the Pandora's Box of Supersymmetry (see here).

The particle accelerator at CERN. Image Source: Daily Mail.

And if the wildest promises of that Pandora's Box are true, this particle will open doors to new human pathways to understanding - a freedom and independence, if you will, from ignorance about the universe. The Standard Model might be resolved using Supersymmetry to conclude a Theory of Everything, a theory which eluded Albert Einstein.

Supersymmetry gives every last element of reality - from the tiniest sub-particle to the universe itself - a shadowy twin, a Doppelgänger. If the Higgs particle's discovery one day confirms this incredible hypothesis, it will serve as history's greatest metaphorical mirror. Supersymmetry could initiate a new era in human history, in which we can contemplate other dimensions, multiverses, and time travel as realities, not as mere speculations in science fiction.

But it just so happens that Doppelgänger and twin aspects giving way to triple worlds are extremely popular at the turn of the Millennium. In other words, scientific discoveries shape culture as much as they grow out of culture.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Shopping for Other People's Dreams

Crania Anatomica Filigre: the third-most funded arts project ever supported on the site, Kickstarter. Image and sculpture (2011) © by Joshua Harker.

On Kickstarter the crowd-funding site, if you can dream just about anything up and successfully pitch it, you will likely get enough financial support to do it. Despite worries about fragmented societies becoming more violent and corrupt, the Internet fosters new connections. Kickstarter donors display remarkable generosity when it comes to helping other people achieve their personal dreams. The notion that anyone can be a celebrity or can take a stab at greatness is partly a lifestyles trope developed by post World War II mass media and marketing minds. Nonetheless, the enormous appeal of this self-serving forumla ironically ensures the rebirth of collective well-being in online communities. Shopping for and supporting other people's dreams with small donations is its own reward (although Kickstarter project managers typically offer project-based rewards at each donation level) because it perpetuates the post-war mantra that you can be anything you want to be.

Video Source: Kickstarter.

This democratization of the Self via marketed universal egotism is as problematic as it is revolutionary. Contrary to all appearances, it was a delayed revolution. Although the Baby Boomers, popularly known in the media as the 'Me Generation,' would appear to embody the credo of self-discovery through capitalism, they in fact profited from establishment structures which pre-existed them, and had not fully collapsed until the late 2000s. In short, they were still rebellious children of an earlier economic system and era.

As we climb through financial wreckage, we are only now starting to see how economies will evolve. It's rough, but not all gloomy. As traditional charities struggle through the recession just when they are most needed, enterprising individuals are readily raising cash for their personal projects. The great strain of the recession inspires new kinds of generosity, a reappraisal of values, a return to the drawing board. Priorities once implemented via capitalistic vanities are being expressed through different types of donation and consumption. Novel modes of survival create innovative trades with altered rules.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Configurations of a Third: The Multiverse


From the Internet emerging from binary code, to the extratemporal dimension between the virtual and the real, to Dark Matter generated between the Matter and Antimatter of the Big Bang, to a bizarre cosmic consciousness arising out of gravity's mesh with space-time - the Millennial idea that our dualist Cartesian reality, split between mind and matter, can form a third, post-Cartesian reality is everywhere. See below the jump for Brian Greene's recent discussion on Nova's The Fabric of the Cosmos: Universe or Multiverse.  While the Multiverse is not yet generally accepted among physicists, since 2010, the idea that there were and are many Big Bangs, generating many universes, has been gaining ground among quantum physicists, string theorists, and theoretical physicists studying cosmic inflation. Their critics argue vehemently that accepting an unprovable theory like this could undermine the very foundations of science.  What is perhaps more important than the challenging theory is the overall pattern - a fundamental sea-change in outlook - these Millennial Configurations of a Third, everywhere we look (see my earlier post on tripartite aspects of Millennial thought, here and here).

In the American TV show, Fringe, there are prime and parallel universes. The parallel universe Manhattan is spelt with one 't.' Image Source: Fox via Wiki.

If the Multiverse is our reality and we don't know it, what would it be like to live there if we did know it? According to Signs of the Times: "The trouble is that in an infinite multiverse, everything that can happen will happen - an infinite number of times. In such a set-up, probability loses all meaning. 'How do you compare infinities?' asks Andrei Linde of Stanford University in California." Multiverses have been consistently popular fictional narrative devices that address Linde's question. Multiverses are constants in fantasy and sci-fi works, most recently in the American FOX television show, Fringe, and of course, Scenes from a Multiverse.  But the only place where the cultural and social implications of a real Multiverse have been systematically and continually explored is in comic books.  Since the early 1960s, Marvel has produced stories about a bunch of alternate realities, pocket universes and multiple dimensions. Marvel tends to have a single narrative represent a single reality: their main narrative continuity is Earth-616. Their Ultimate imprint has presented popular alternate universe stories since the year 2000. TVTropes sees Marvel's Multiverse affected by a hierarchy of positive and negative realities: English writer "Warren Ellis' run on X-Man utilized another conception of the multiverse, where in addition to Parallel Universes, there's a 'spiral of realities' stretching above and below, with the universes 'downspiral' being significantly more chaotic and difficult for li[f]e to develop/survive in than the the relatively advanced and idyllic universes located 'upspiral.'" Marvel also has an omniverse, a collection of all possible universes and realities, inhabited by characters from other fictions and pulp houses, including its rival, DC.

Infinite Crisis #5 (April 2006).

DC Comics' assessment is even more complex, with frayed narratives and equally divided fictional realities; its Multiverses collide and break apart, causing total chaos, infinite crises, and a constant reevaluation of its characters and degrees of heroism. Since Wonder Woman #59 (1953), writers at DC have symbolically considered what living in a real, tangible Multiverse would do to our mentalities, lives and consciousness.  Since 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths, when DC attempted to crunch the whole Multiverse into one single fictional universe, America's oldest comics publisher has allowed events on the Multiversal level to dominate its main narrative storyline with increasing frequency and intensity. DC soon uncrunched their single universe and brought the Multiverse back. DC's writers have reevaluated our understanding of death, of time, of narrative sequence and continuity, and of morality (see also: here); and all of this arises when the unseeable and unmeasurable beyond our perception collides theoretically with tangible reality and coughs up a third synthetic unknown.

nU Alec Holland meets nU Abby Arcane. DCnU Swamp Thing #3 (January 2012).

In short, alternate realities and parallel dimensions have of course appeared in many modern works of literature and drama, some great, some popular; but only DC has been consistently speculating on what a collective Multiversal reality would be like, month in, month out, over almost sixty years. DC's Multiverse has evolved over that time, with its most radical stories ever published this fall.  The editors and writers at DC are saying the fabric of time and space could tear, turn itself inside out, and we could all find ourselves, the same but different, living in new realities, haunted by memories of our other existences.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

The Dark Matter World



One of the great mysteries of our times is Dark Matter. In various forms, it makes up most of reality, somewhere between 85 and 98 per cent, yet we know almost nothing about it, including the particles of which it is composed, because we can't see it (it neither emits nor scatters light). Scientists assume it exists because they can detect its mass and gravitational pull (see a piece at I09 on Dark Matter here and an explanation from Scientific American here). Now there are speculations that there might have been (might still be?) stars and potentially alternate, unseen galaxies, a coexistent unseen universe, composed of Dark Matter.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Scientists Trap Antimatter for Sixteen Minutes

This is an artist's image of the ALPHA trap which captured and stored antihydrogen atoms, whose trapped path is shown by the electric blue lines. Image Credit: Chukman So. Image Source: Physorg.

Amid April rumours that the God Particle, or Higgs Boson, the theoretical Holy Grail of Particle Physics, may have been found at CERN (the data is being verified and checked by thousands of scientists), there's a new report that the ALPHA project team working at the Large Hadron Collider has captured and studied Antimatter for 1,000 seconds.  From the Telegraph:
Scientists have trapped and stored antihydrogen atoms for a record 16 minutes, a stunning technical feat that promises deeper insights into the mysteries of anti-matter. ... We can keep the antihydrogen atoms trapped for 1,000 seconds. This is long enough to begin to study them -- even with the small number that we can catch so far," said Jeffrey Hangst, spokesman for the ALPHA team conducting the tests at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva. In the study, published in the journal Nature Physics, researchers report trapping some 300 antiatoms. Scientists used CERN's high-energy accelerator to create the antihydrogen atoms, and then chilled them to near-zero temperatures. The aim is to use laser and microwave spectroscopy to compare the immobilised particles to their hydrogen counterparts.
(Hat tip: Phantoms and Monsters.)  One of the questions posed in these experiments is why Antimatter is so rare.  It was created when particles collided at the dawn of the universe, creating Matter and Antimatter (explained here and here). Researchers assert that there is no mirror Antimatter universe.  Therefore, in their estimation, half the cosmos is missing.  Scientists are seeking to verify that Antimatter particles would behave consistently if they were in a mirror universe with reversed charges and were moving backwards through time:
Antimatter is a puzzle because it should have been produced in equal amounts with normal matter during the Big Bang that created the universe 13.7 billion years ago. Today, however, there is no evidence of antimatter galaxies or clouds, and antimatter is seen rarely and for only short periods, for example during some types of radioactive decay before it annihilates in a collision with normal matter.

Hence the desire to measure the properties of antiatoms in order to determine whether their electromagnetic and gravitational interactions are identical to those of normal matter. One goal is to check whether antiatoms abide by CPT symmetry, as do normal atoms. CPT (charge-parity-time) symmetry means that a particle would behave the same way in a mirror universe if it had the opposite charge and moved backward in time. “Any hint of CPT symmetry breaking would require a serious rethink of our understanding of nature,” said Jeffrey Hangst of Aarhus University in Denmark, spokesperson for the ALPHA experiment. “But half of the universe has gone missing, so some kind of rethink is apparently on the agenda.”
For other reports, go here, here, here and here.  CERN has a public page explaining Antimatter here. The original article at Nature Physics is here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

End of an Era: The Last Voyage of the Space Shuttle Endeavor

Space Shuttle Endeavour straddling the stratosphere and mesosphere.(9 February 2010), STS-130. Image Source: NASA via Wiki.

Caption for the above photograph: The image was photographed by an Expedition 22 crew member prior to STS-130 rendezvous and docking operations with the International Space Station. Docking occurred at 11:06 p.m. (CST) on Feb. 9, 2010. The orbital outpost was at 46.9 south latitude and 80.5 west longitude, over the South Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern Chile with an altitude of 183 nautical miles when the image of the was recorded. The orange layer is the troposphere, where all of the weather and clouds which we typically watch and experience are generated and contained. This orange layer gives way to the whitish Stratosphere and then into the Mesosphere.

The Space Shuttle Endeavor, active since 1992, is taking off for its final flight today after some delays.  Coming on the heels of the last voyage of Space Shuttle Discovery, which landed on 9 March, these events mark the decommissioning of the Space Shuttles and the end of an era.  This may be the last flight ever in the program, depending on how planning goes for the last mission of Space Shuttle Atlantis in June. Endeavor's crew, however, will be initiating an experiment that may take us into a new age.  The Space Shuttle is carrying an Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (the AMS02) to install on the International Space Station.  The instrument will detect sub-atomic particles in cosmic rays and search for dark matter and antimatter.

In October of last year, I posted the first photograph ever taken of a Rubidium 85 atom - and was struck by how the atom looked like a star. This is a moment in which the science of the very small intersects with the science of the very large.  Given that reconciling those two traditions is one of the biggest problems of our time, Endeavor mission has a critical function to fulfill.


Image Source: Wiki.

Caption for the above image:  By studying sub-atomic particles in the background cosmic radiation, and searching for anti-matter and dark-matter, it will help scientists better understand the evolution and properties of our universe. The shape of the patch is inspired by the international atomic symbol, and represents the atom with orbiting electrons around the nucleus. The burst near the center refers to the big-bang theory and the origin of the universe. The Space Shuttle Endeavour and ISS fly together into the sunrise over the limb of Earth, representing the dawn of a new age, understanding the nature of the universe.

This mission is numbered STS-134, and is led by Mark Kelly, the husband of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt on 8 January. She will be attending the launch.
Space Shuttle Program Commemorative Patch.  Image Source: Wiki.



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Monday, November 8, 2010

Mini Big Bang Just Created in Large Hadron Collider

What it looks like: a lead-ion collision in the Large Hadron Collider. Image Source: CERN via BBC.

On November 7, scientists working with the Large Hadron Collider achieved mini Big Bang conditions, generating temperatures a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun.  They plan "to learn more about the plasma the Universe was made of a millionth of a second after the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago."  Report here; main page here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Little Something for Us Chrononauts

Clocks Slay Time (2010). © By alexandraburciu. Reproduced with kind permission.

On September 10, Larry King Live broadcasted an interview King conducted with Stephen Hawking about his recent book The Universe in a Nutshell and his comments that the origin of the universe does not need to be explained with reference to a divine creator.  Tellingly, that hot topic veered quickly to the subject of time travel.  Is there a connection between the quest to determine the divine/non-divine origins of the universe and time travel? (I feel like Paul in Dune - "The worms - the spice - is there a relationship?"). 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Time and the Philosophers 3: Quentin Smith on Immanuel Kant and the Beginning of the Universe



Today's blog post title is taken from a paper that caught my eye by Professor Quentin Smith, who works in the fields of the philosophies of time, language, physics, religion and cosmology. He's also a painter in his spare time. The paper concerns whether or not the beginning of time coincided with the beginning of the universe. Smith has papers up on the Web here, here and here. His article, Kant and the Beginning of the World (orig. pub.: The New Scholasticism, Vol. 59, No. 3, Summer 1985, pp. 339-346) opens with a question about how time may or may not have been defined prior to the beginning of time.  This question also deals with the beginning of time to test the existence of God.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Time is Running Out? Time is Multi-Dimensional?

Image by David Hellman for the video game Braid © Microsoft Game Studios and Number None Inc.

Scientists have found that the expanding universe is speeding up at its outer edges, rather than slowing down as would be expected from a cosmos moving outward and away foom the source of the Big Bang.  At first, astronomers and physicists attributed this strange phenomenon to the influence of Dark Matter.  But since Dark Matter is an unknown quantity, cosmologists find themselves turning to quantum physicists, whose research with particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider are trying to find evidence for Dark Matter at the sub-atomic level.  When publicity over the LHC was heating up in 2007, some scientists announced alternate explanations for the accelerating edge of reality.  According to this report from the Telegraph and this article at the New Scientist, one team suggested that time is slowing down and will eventually run out, stopping the entire universe in a single, freeze-frame final moment (Professor José Senovilla, Marc Mars and Raül Vera of the University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, and University of Salamanca, Spain).  Another scientist (Itzhak Bars of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles) has suggested that there are two or more dimensions of time.  For an explanation of Two-Time Physics, a theory which has been developing since 1995, go here.  Bars's work is another attempt to explain the Theory of Everything.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The First Nanosecond in the History of the Universe

The infant universe's rapid expansion. NASA/WMAP © 2006.

Yes, it's the time of year for big conventions and all sorts of news and ideas are floating around.  The Mars Society announced on July 23 that one of the keynotes at their annual convention, this year in Dayton, Ohio in early August, will be Dr. David Chuss of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, will be presenting a plenary session entitled The Early Universe which will discuss the epoch of rapid accelerated expansion, called "inflation", that happened within the first nano-second of the history of the universe."  Chuss is an expert in "astronomical polarimetry and is currently working on several projects that will endeavor to measure the polarization of the afterglow of the Big Bang, the Cosmic Microwave Background, in an attempt to probe the earliest instants of the Universe."  Research in Dr. Chuss's field is based on findings from a spacecraft that measures the heat remaining from the Big Bang, that is, the oldest light in the universe.