(TMU) — Theoretical physicist Sean Carroll expressed that clues in the small-scale structure of the universe point to the existence of numerous parallel worlds.
The shocking comments were made on the Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) podcast last year. Carroll says that the fact that tiny particles like electrons and photons don’t have one set location in the universe is evidence that there are many parallel universes.
Recently, in a follow up interview with News.com.au, Carroll expanded his thoughts. “But there’s a lot more going on,” Carroll told News.com.au. “Not every world you imagine actually comes true.”
The common sense rules of physics that rule our lives everyday make sense to us but at very minuscule scales common sense breaks down altogether. At the quantum level, the empty vacuum of space is filled with tiny particles constantly popping in and out of existence.
Bell’s theorem, a fundamental construct in quantum mechanics, may prove that multiverses exist. This theorem deals with situations where particles interact with each other, become entangled, and then go their separate ways, according to New Scientist.
“There are still equations, physical rules, patterns that must be obeyed. Some possible alternate worlds can come true. But not all of them,” Carroll said.
In the past, Carroll has advanced some groundbreaking yet controversial theories on topics such as the Big Bang theory and the nature of time.
He has said that the universe didn’t start in a huge explosion as most people now believe, but instead it is an infinitely old, constantly inflating entity in which time can run both forward and backward.
For Carroll quantum physics is not something that can be broken down and explained in simpler terms.
“As far as we currently know,” he writes. “Quantum mechanics isn’t just an approximation to the truth; it is the truth.”
“Physics is stuck trying to understand the fundamentals of nature and the Big Bang,” Carroll said. “It’s time to take a step back and understand its foundations. It’s time to tackle our understanding of the quantum world.”
In 2011 physicist Brian Greene wrote a book exploring the possibility called The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos.
“You almost can’t avoid having some version of the multiverse in your studies if you push deeply enough in the mathematical descriptions of the physical universe,” Greene told NPR. “There are many of us thinking of one version of parallel universe theory or another. If it’s all a lot of nonsense, then it’s a lot of wasted effort going into this far-out idea. But if this idea is correct, it is a fantastic upheaval in our understanding.”
Even Stephen Hawking suggested that, thanks to quantum mechanics, the Big Bang supplied us with an endless number of universes, not just one.
Up until this point understanding quantum physics and its realms has been impossible, but Carroll hopes that is changing thanks to technology.
“Now we’re getting better at that,” Carroll says. “Technology has improved. Maybe things are going to change.”
Greene, Carroll, and Hawking may be right, and researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee want to find out if there are multiverses or mirror images of our own reality. The team was set to record experiments last year sending a beam of subatomic particles down a 50-foot tunnel, past a powerful magnet and into an impenetrable wall.
“If it exists, it would form a bubble of reality nestling within the fabric of space and time alongside our own familiar universe, with some particles capable of switching between the two,” lead researcher Leah Broussard told New Scientist.
Physicists Suggest All Matter Could Be Made Up of Energy ‘Fragments’
Matter is what makes up the Universe, but what makes up matter? This question has long been tricky for those who think about it – especially for the physicists.
Reflecting recent trends in physics, my colleague Jeffrey Eischen and I have described an updated way to think about matter. We propose that matter is not made of particles or waves, as was long thought, but – more fundamentally – that matter is made of fragments of energy.
From Five to One
The ancient Greeks conceived of five building blocks of matter – from bottom to top: earth, water, air, fire and aether. Aether was the matter that filled the heavens and explained the rotation of the stars, as observed from the Earth vantage point.
These were the first most basic elements from which one could build up a world. Their conceptions of the physical elements did not change dramatically for nearly 2,000 years.
Then, about 300 years ago, Sir Isaac Newton introduced the idea that all matter exists at points called particles. One hundred fifty years after that, James Clerk Maxwell introduced the electromagnetic wave – the underlying and often invisible form of magnetism, electricity and light.
The particle served as the building block for mechanics and the wave for electromagnetism – and the public settled on the particle and the wave as the two building blocks of matter. Together, the particles and waves became the building blocks of all kinds of matter.
This was a vast improvement over the ancient Greeks’ five elements but was still flawed. In a famous series of experiments, known as the double-slit experiments, light sometimes acts like a particle and at other times acts like a wave. And while the theories and math of waves and particles allow scientists to make incredibly accurate predictions about the Universe, the rules break down at the largest and tiniest scales.
Einstein proposed a remedy in his theory of general relativity. Using the mathematical tools available to him at the time, Einstein was able to better explain certain physical phenomena and also resolve a longstanding paradox relating to inertia and gravity.
But instead of improving on particles or waves, he eliminated them as he proposed the warping of space and time.
Using newer mathematical tools, my colleague and I have demonstrated a new theory that may accurately describe the Universe. Instead of basing the theory on the warping of space and time, we considered that there could be a building block that is more fundamental than the particle and the wave.
Scientists understand that particles and waves are existential opposites: A particle is a source of matter that exists at a single point, and waves exist everywhere except at the points that create them.
My colleague and I thought it made logical sense for there to be an underlying connection between them.
Flow and Fragments of Energy
Our theory begins with a new fundamental idea – that energy always “flows” through regions of space and time.
Think of energy as made up of lines that fill up a region of space and time, flowing into and out of that region, never beginning, never ending and never crossing one another.
Working from the idea of a universe of flowing energy lines, we looked for a single building block for the flowing energy. If we could find and define such a thing, we hoped we could use it to accurately make predictions about the Universe at the largest and tiniest scales.
There were many building blocks to choose from mathematically, but we sought one that had the features of both the particle and wave – concentrated like the particle but also spread out over space and time like the wave.
The answer was a building block that looks like a concentration of energy – kind of like a star – having energy that is highest at the center, and that gets smaller farther away from the center.
Much to our surprise, we discovered that there were only a limited number of ways to describe a concentration of energy that flows. Of those, we found just one that works in accordance with our mathematical definition of flow.
We named it a fragment of energy. For the math and physics aficionados, it is defined as A = -⍺/r where ⍺ is intensity and r is the distance function.
Using the fragment of energy as a building block of matter, we then constructed the math necessary to solve physics problems. The final step was to test it out.
Back to Einstein, Adding Universality
More than 100 ago, Einstein had turned to two legendary problems in physics to validate general relativity: the ever-so-slight yearly shift – or precession – in Mercury’s orbit, and the tiny bending of light as it passes the Sun.
These problems were at the two extremes of the size spectrum. Neither wave nor particle theories of matter could solve them, but general relativity did.
The theory of general relativity warped space and time in such way as to cause the trajectory of Mercury to shift and light to bend in precisely the amounts seen in astronomical observations.
If our new theory was to have a chance at replacing the particle and the wave with the presumably more fundamental fragment, we would have to be able to solve these problems with our theory, too.
For the precession-of-Mercury problem, we modeled the Sun as an enormous stationary fragment of energy and Mercury as a smaller but still enormous slow-moving fragment of energy. For the bending-of-light problem, the Sun was modeled the same way, but the photon was modeled as a minuscule fragment of energy moving at the speed of light.
In both problems, we calculated the trajectories of the moving fragments and got the same answers as those predicted by the theory of general relativity. We were stunned.
Our initial work demonstrated how a new building block is capable of accurately modeling bodies from the enormous to the minuscule. Where particles and waves break down, the fragment of energy building block held strong.
The fragment could be a single potentially universal building block from which to model reality mathematically – and update the way people think about the building blocks of the Universe.
Republished from TheConversation.com under Creative Commons
Exotic “Blue Jet” Lightning Shooting From Electrical Storm Captured by Space Station
State-of-the-art equipment on the International Space Station (ISS) has captured a brilliant view of a thunderstorm from above, including a clear view of a strange type of lightning known as a blue jet.
The footage could help us better understand how lighting originates and even how storms distribute greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, offering important pointers on weather systems in general.
However, the footage also offers a damned cool perspective of electrical storms that we’ve never enjoyed until now.
In video released by the European Space Agency that was captured in February 2019, blue-colored lightning bolts can be seen shooting upwards from storm clouds over the Pacific island of Nauru into the highest reaches of the stratosphere.
Blue jets are types of lightning that shoot upwards from thunderclouds into the stratosphere, striking altitudes exceeding 30 miles (50 km) in under a second. While our typical lightning interacts with a mixture of gases in the lower atmosphere to create glowing white bolts, blue jets excite stratospheric nitrogen to create a luminous blue hue.
While the phenomenon has long been observed from aircraft and ground-level vantage points, the European Space Agency’s Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) at the ISS, which is about 250 miles (400 km) above the Earth, have enabled researchers to get the best glimpse yet of a blue jet arising from a sudden burst of electricity emanating from the top of a thundercloud, according to research published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature.
“Elves,” or rapidly-expanding rings of optical and UV emissions, were also generated by the flash. The emissions, which took place at the bottom of the ionosphere, were a result of the interaction between electrons, radio waves, and the atmosphere.
Blue jets and elves, like other upper-atmospheric phenomena such as mythological-sounding sprites, are important to our understanding of how radio waves travel through the air, with potential ramifications on our communications technologies as well as the more fundamental questions of how lightning is initiated in our clouds and how greenhouse gases are concentrated in the atmosphere.
However, spotting these brilliant light shows has been difficult for earthbound observers. Yet the highly sensitive tools installed on the Space Station in 2018 – including photometers, optical cameras, and an X- and gamma-ray detector –were able to capture the elusive phenomena.
The knowledge gleaned from the footage could prove crucial to researchers finally making sense of the processes unfolding in the upper atmosphere.
“This paper is an impressive highlight of the many new phenomena ASIM is observing above thunderstorms and shows that we still have so much to discover and learn about our Universe,” said Astrid Orr, the Physical Sciences Coordinator for human and robotic spaceflight at the European Space Agency.
“Congratulations to all the scientists and university teams that made this happen as well as the engineers that built the observatory and the support teams on ground operating ASIM—a true international collaboration that has led to amazing discoveries,” Orr added.
The Moon, Mars and Uranus Will “Meet” in an Ultra-Rare Conjunction Tonight
Last month, stargazers were treated to a rare “Christmas star” that saw Jupiter and Saturn aligned so closely that they appeared to be on a collision course with one another.
And this week, we will be treated to another rare and spectacular space event.
According to astronomers, over the next few nights Mars, Uranus and the Moon will come in remarkably close proximity in our skies, with Mars passing 1.75 degrees to the north of Uranus while also sharing the scene with the Moon, reports EarthSky.
The infrequent occasion will look best on Thursday evening, just after dusk through just after midnight in the eastern United States, when the Moon and the two planets will appear very close along the southwest horizon.
For those in the U.K., the meeting will happen at roughly 4:43 p.m. but when the sky turns dark, the planets will reach their highest point at roughly 6:06 p.m. before remaining visible until about 12:36 a.m.
Mars, which is the fourth planet from the Sun, will be especially luminous as it stands out from the stars and will lie just above the Moon.
Uranus, however, may appear as a somewhat faint dot. However, the vertical alignment of the three planets should allow us to see all three of the planets with Uranus shining somewhat dimly between the Moon and Mars.
“Uranus will be about 1.5 degrees down and to the left of Mars but will not be visible to the naked eye,” Dean Regas, the astronomer for the Cincinnati Observatory, told local12. “You will need binoculars or a telescope to see it since it is almost 2 billion miles away.”
As EarthSky reported, Mars has been increasingly dimmed over the course of the last several months while the Earth has rushed ahead of it in our much more rapid and smaller orbit around the sun.
However, Mars is still shining brilliantly like some of the brightest stars in our skies. If the skies are clear, Mars will be easily visible as a bright, shining celestial object in the vicinity of the Moon.
Uranus, which is the seventh planet from the sun lying at a distance of roughly 1.8 billion miles (2.9 billion km) away, will be extremely faint – more than 150 times fainter than the Red Planet.
The planet, which is about four times wider than our home planet – making it the size of a basketball if the Earth were an apple, according to NASA – is the outermost of the planets in our solar system that still remains visible with the naked eye.
However, given that seeing it with the eye requires extremely dark skies, the fact that the moon will be shining – in close proximity, no less – means that stargazers will definitely need binoculars or even a telescope to catch a full glimpse of the rare “meeting.”
“The interesting news is that Mars and Uranus are close together on the sky’s dome, so that – theoretically – you could see Mars and Uranus in a single binocular field of view for the next week or so, if the moon weren’t in the way,” EarthSky added.
So get your binoculars ready, and enjoy!
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