Tag Archives | Physics

Stephen Hawking: God Was Not Needed To Create The Universe

Stephen Hawking says the Big Bang was the result of the inevitable laws of physics and did not need God to spark the creation of the Universe -- reported in the Telegraph:
The scientist has claimed that no divine force was needed to explain why the Universe was formed. In his latest book, The Grand Design, an extract of which is published in Eureka magazine in The Times, Hawking said: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.” He added: “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.”...
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There Was No Big Bang at the Start of the Universe

Hubble_ultra_deep_field Alasdair Wilkins writes on io9.com:

A new theory explains the accelerating universe without invoking mysterious, unseen dark energy to account for the expansion. But it also gets rid of singularities, an unchanging speed of light … and the most famous astrophysical phenomenon of all, the Big Bang.

The observation of certain supernovas in the late 1990s led astronomers to the very unexpected discovery that the universe is expanding, and that the expansion is speeding up. There was nothing in the existing laws of physics to account for this, and so the only solution was dark energy — a mysterious force so named because we’ve never detected it, and yet it has to make up 75% of all the energy and mass in the universe for it to account for this cosmic acceleration. Also, the existence of dark energy weakens the supposedly inviolate law of conservation of energy, if not negates it completely.

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Time Travel Theory Avoids Grandfather Paradox

From Physorg.com:

The possibility of going back in time only to kill your ancestors and prevent your own birth has posed a serious problem for potential time travelers, not even considering the technical details of building a time machine. But a new theory proposed by physicists at MIT suggests that this grandfather paradox could be avoided by using quantum teleportation and “post-selecting” what a time traveler could and could not do. So while murdering one’s relatives is unfortunately possible in the present time, such actions would be strictly forbidden if you were to try them during a trip to the past.

The model of time travel proposed by Seth Lloyd, et al., in a recent paper at arXiv.org arises from their investigation of the quantum mechanics of closed timelike curves (CTCs) and search for a theory of gravity. In simple terms, a CTC is a path of spacetime that returns to its starting point.

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Social Physics with Kyle Findlay

Kyle FindlayVia Technoccult:

Klint Finley: What, as a “social physicist,” do you actually do?

Kyle Findlay: Well, at the moment I’m on my own in this “field,” if you can call it that. It just seems like the best description of what I do and what interests me so hopefully it sticks.

Basically, my interest is in understanding how people act as groups. As emergent entities that have their own (hopefully) predictable and describable topological forms. That’s the lofty idea anyway. And the tools of chaos theory, systems theory, network theory, physics, mathematics, etc. help describe this.

Do you have a background in physical sciences?

None at all. I studied “business science” at the University of Cape Town. My first job was for a company with a strong academic background, started by a professor of religion and a professor of statistics. They used a 5-dimensional catastrophe cusp model to describe people’s relationships with ideas.

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Is This What God Sounds Like?

Higgs-BosonFascinating developments from the Large Hadron Collider, as the BBC reports that the so-called “God particle” has been simulated as sound:

Scientists have simulated the sounds set to be made by sub-atomic particles such as the Higgs boson when they are produced at the Large Hadron Collider.

Their aim is to develop a means for physicists at Cern to “listen to the data” and pick out the Higgs particle if and when they finally detect it.

Dr Lily Asquith modelled data from the giant Atlas experiment at the LHC. She worked with sound engineers to convert data expected from collisions at the LHC into sounds.

“If the energy is close to you, you will hear a low pitch and if it’s further away you hear a higher pitch,” the particle physicist told BBC News. “If it’s lots of energy it will be louder and if it’s just a bit of energy it will be quieter.”

The £6bn LHC machine on the Swiss-French border is designed to shed light on fundamental questions in physics.

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ESC Chicago Keynote Makes Case For Time Travel

Karen Field reports that theoretical physicist Ronald Mallett is on a lifelong mission to build a time machine. His theory of a time machine, based on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, involves creating a circulating beam of light and exploiting the energy to produce a gravitational field, at RF Designline:

Ronald Mallett, a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Connecticut, gave a mind-bending keynote speech on the physics of time travel to an enthralled audience at the Embedded Systems Conference here Tuesday morning, describing how black holes, blue giant stars, and worm holes (tunnels that connect the mouths of black holes)—some of the strangest things in the Universe—illustrate (at least in theory) the potential for time travel some day.

And that day, Mallett claimed, is not so far in the future as one might think.

“Time travel one of mankind’s oldest fantasies. But is it really possible? All of us have wondered what’s going to happen in the future, and we’ve contemplated the question, ‘What if I could back and change something in my past?” said Mallet.

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Mysterious Radio Waves Emitted From Nearby Galaxy

Galaxy M82Stephen Battersby writes on New Scientist:
There is something strange in the cosmic neighbourhood. An unknown object in the nearby galaxy M82 has started sending out radio waves, and the emission does not look like anything seen anywhere in the universe before. "We don't know what it is," says co-discoverer Tom Muxlow of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics near Macclesfield, UK. The thing appeared in May last year, while Muxlow and his colleagues were monitoring an unrelated stellar explosion in M82 using the MERLIN network of radio telescopes in the UK. A bright spot of radio emission emerged over only a few days, quite rapidly in astronomical terms. Since then it has done very little except baffle astrophysicists. It certainly does not fit the pattern of radio emissions from supernovae: they usually get brighter...
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Every Black Hole Contains Another Universe?

Ker Than writes on National Geographic News:
Black Holes Hold Universes

Like part of a cosmic Russian doll, our universe may be nested inside a black hole that is itself part of a larger universe. In turn, all the black holes found so far in our universe — from the microscopic to the supermassive — may be doorways into alternate realities.

According to a mind-bending new theory, a black hole is actually a tunnel between universes — a type of wormhole. The matter the black hole attracts doesn’t collapse into a single point, as has been predicted, but rather gushes out a “white hole” at the other end of the black one, the theory goes.

In a recent paper published in the journal Physics Letters B, Indiana University physicist Nikodem Poplawski presents new mathematical models of the spiraling motion of matter falling into a black hole. His equations suggest such wormholes are viable alternatives to the “space-time singularities” that Albert Einstein predicted to be at the centers of black holes.

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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.

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Mega Shark Attack on Airplane Explained by Physics

Now this is entertainment. But here's the real life physics behind it (click here). Stephen Tauban writes on his blog:
Last year, I discovered the wonderfully cheezy and sharky movie: Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus. While it certainly appealed to a more straight-to-DVD niche market of creature-feature enthusiasts, it wasn’t half bad. Pretty laughable in parts … well actually, in most parts when you consider the wooden acting and crap computer animation. However the most ridiculous scene has to be when Mega Shark takes down a commercial jetliner that is cruising over the middle of the ocean. It was this moment that took the movie from being a little ho-hum to “holy shit, did that shark just eat a plane!?” Check out the clip: It’s pretty incredible when you think about it. I mean, how the hell did it do that? What would it require for a shark the size of a plane to launch itself out of the water and take down a moving aircraft? After reviewing some of my basic physics calculations I came up with some pretty startling figures. However, it didn’t feel like I would be doing such an epic event justice with just a basic blog post, which meant it was time to do what I love most: an infographic! I had been itching to do one for a while now, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. So with all that said, check out the resulting design below. Oh, and just click on the image to download the full size PDF version for the smaller details.
Megashark
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