For One Tiny Instant, Physicists May Have Broken a Law of Nature

So does this now mean the evil, “mirror” universe exists? Beware your doppelganger, especially if he (or she?!) has a goatee … Suzanne Taylor Muzzin reports on PhysOrg:
Mirror Spock

For a brief instant, it appears, scientists at Brook haven National Laboratory on Long Island recently discovered a law of nature had been broken.

Action still resulted in an equal and opposite reaction, gravity kept the Earth circling the Sun, and conservation of energy remained intact. But for the tiniest fraction of a second at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), physicists created a symmetry-breaking bubble of space where parity no longer existed.

Parity was long thought to be a fundamental law of nature. It essentially states that the universe is neither right- nor left-handed — that the laws of physics remain unchanged when expressed in inverted coordinates. In the early 1950s it was found that the so-called weak force, which is responsible for nuclear radioactivity, breaks the parity law. However, the strong force, which holds together subatomic particles, was thought to adhere to the law of parity, at least under normal circumstances.

Now this law appears to have been broken by a team of about a dozen particle physicists, including Jack Sandweiss, Yale’s Donner Professor of Physics. Since 2000, Sandweiss has been smashing the nuclei of gold atoms together as part of the STAR experiment at RHIC, a 2.4-mile-circumference particle accelerator, to study the law of parity under the resulting extreme conditions.

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  • Gregory

    Well, “laws” of nature are only things we have been able to perceive based on our limited perceptions but have the arrogance to pronounce as laws, as if the human set of sensory apparatus is the gold standard. The truth is that the vast amount of thinking that goes into trying to figure everything out doesn't do a damn thing, really when it comes to the human experience. We don't own the process and we don't make the sun come up in the morning and have not power to stop it or make it go, etc. We are swiftly trying to bring about either the collapse of the world economic/industrial system or the ecosystem and theoretical physicists are sweating out how the universe began.

    Howsabout putting thinking to work regarding the real world issues we have currently instead of this continued embarrassing idea that humans can figure everything out except what the human experience really means.

    So what really happens is the sky goddess eats the sun in the evening and gives birth to it again in the morning. Same difference.

    fiat lux

  • tonyviner

    Scientists – 1
    God – 0

    • Synapse

      Please remind us how scientists breaking their own law which they discovered not to be as immutable as they made it out to be is even remotely a point over/against God?

      • tonyviner

        No.

      • E.B. Wolf

        You'll just have to have faith.

        • BenGod777

          Oh, we will.

    • Word Eater

      I didn't know there was a competition.

  • Spooky

    In the news today: Scientist discover an exception to their laws. Atheists rejoice at a triumph. And hardcore religious types are filled with rage and indignation. Both ignore that science is not supposed to be an absolute/constant like dogma is, and is open to revision as understanding improves.

  • oman28

    Everything is made of atoms. Every atom is made of energy. An endless sea of potentiality.
    I think the 'God' we call modern science is going to look quite ridiculous in a couple of hundred years.
    It was once an immutable scientific law that the earth was circular and flat.
    However, science is an improvement on religion.

    • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

      More importantly, “Science” has an internal mechanism for continuous improvement. “Religion” on the other hand, well…

      • oman28

        I agree. However problems arise when the “internal mechanism for continuous improvement” is tampered with, eg when a corporation sponsers a scientest and therefore owns the rights to their research then chooses to supress it from public knowledge. (Westinghouse did this to Nikola Tesla)

  • nemoide

    This song seems relevant: “Sid Sheinberg Sings CP Violation” by Logan Whitehurst & the Junior Science Club http://juniorscienceclub.com/loganarchive/earth

    Anyways, if a law of physics is broken, it just means there was an incorrect assumption about that law. It's how science evolves!

  • Knyghte

    I have a question, sorry if I'm ignorant about this. With what kind of logic analyzer the scientists used to determine that the parity law has been successfully unearthed? I think we have no device nor way to dermine it.

  • Kniteli

    I dont understand how this fell into god v. religion. What I take from this (if its confirmed) is that there is an imbalance in a fundamental aspect of our universe, which means we have that much more power to make the world as we hope it to be. Think of it like this, if this were applied to the force of gravity instead of the strong nuclear force, we might be able to make massless engines. Space travel and thrust without any expelled material, i.e space travel and thrust with just energy, because we could exploit the imbalance in one direction or the other.

  • Kniteli

    I dont understand how this fell into god v. religion. What I take from this (if its confirmed) is that there is an imbalance in a fundamental aspect of our universe, which means we have that much more power to make the world as we hope it to be. Think of it like this, if this were applied to the force of gravity instead of the strong nuclear force, we might be able to make massless engines. Space travel and thrust without any expelled material, i.e space travel and thrust with just energy, because we could exploit the imbalance in one direction or the other.