Stories tagged big bang

Mar
06
2010

RHIC collision of gold ions: The tracks indicate the paths taken by thousands of subatomic particles produced in the gold ion collisions at RHIC.
RHIC collision of gold ions: The tracks indicate the paths taken by thousands of subatomic particles produced in the gold ion collisions at RHIC.Courtesy Argonne National Laboratory
A heavy isotope of antihydrogen was created at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) on Long Island, New York. This antihydrogen isotope was heavier than the previous antimatter record-holder, antihelium. I say "was", because it only lasted a few hundred trillionths of a second.

Super smash-up

To make the antimatter, physicists smashed two gold nuclei against each other with enormous energies. The data resulting from the collision "literally looked like haystacks". Sophisticated software was used to make sense out of the debris and pick out the new antimatter.

To form the new antihydrogen isotope, first an antistrange quark binds with an antiup and antidown quark to make an antilambda -- an antineutron-like particle. The antilambda, which is fractionally heavier than a neutron, must then combine with a conventional antineutron and an antiproton. The chances of this happening are very slim: out of 100 million collisions, RHIC generated just 70 of the new antihydrogen isotopes.

Why?

Studying the properties of antinuclei such as these might help physicists study the primordial form of matter that existed in the universe shortly after the Big Bang and why the Universe is full of matter rather than antimatter.

Source article
Heavy antimatter created in gold collisions Scientific American

Oct
30
2009

For me, the greatest mystery in the universe is Lindsay Price, and how she continues to find work.: Not that great a mystery, I guess…
For me, the greatest mystery in the universe is Lindsay Price, and how she continues to find work.: Not that great a mystery, I guess…Courtesy catechism

And, let’s face it, who hasn’t had the urge now and then? At the “Quantum to Cosmos” physics conference in Waterloo, Canada, seven physicists were asked, "What keeps you awake at night?" (Apparently, they meant “what issue in science” as opposed to love, money, or lack thereof.) The panel came up with some pretty heavy questions:

Why are the fundamental laws of nature the way that they are? There doesn’t seem to be any reason why they couldn’t be some other way. Are there, perhaps, other universes with other rules?

How does the Observer Effect work? This is a little deep for me, but apparently at the sub-atomic level, simply observing a particle over here can effect another particle thousands of miles away. How does nature do that?

What is the nature of matter, anyway? Especially the “dark matter” which is theorized to exist in outer space, messing up all our gravity calculations.

On a related note, will string theory ever be proven? String theory is the latest theory for how matter and energy interact at the sub-sub-sub-atomic level. And while it is very elegant and seems right on paper, no one has any idea how to conduct an experiment to prove or disprove it.

How do complex systems arise out of simple, basic particles and forces? You know, complex systems. Like life, the universe, and everything.

How did the universe begin, anyway? Physics can only take us back to a few fractions of a second after the Big Bang, a moment at which the universe was very small, very hot, and very dense. Before that, the laws of physics break down. No one knows how to describe the Bang itself, or how / why it happened.

Which brings us to, what are the limits of science? Science is based on observation and experiment. But, at some point, you run into ideas that can’t be tested. In theory, it’s entirely possible that there are other universes. But we’re stuck in this one—how would we ever know?

If anyone has answers to any of these questions, please send them to Canada ASAP. It sounds like there’s a bunch of scientists up there who could use a good night’s sleep.

Nov
03
2008

So if the universe was created by the big bang... then that would mean that from entropy came order. Does that mean that a messy room or desk could create a whole new universe?

If that is the case, what type of universe would be created from your room or desk? What new life forms or environments would there be?

Based on my desk and the mess of papers I feel that my new universe would be very difficult to locate things in... like those caves that have tunnels that you can get lost in.

A few days ago we posted a link to an article about a push within the Church of England to apologize for its actions of the past that were critical of Charles Darwin's emerging theories of evolution 150 years ago. Now here's word that top Roman Catholic officials are saying that there is room for evolution is "more than a theory" and that there is room for it in the creation story. I believe Sarah Palin is still a creationist, however.

Jul
23
2006

Cosmic Calendar: Cosmic Calendar; All of time compressed to one year. picture from wikimedia
Cosmic Calendar: Cosmic Calendar; All of time compressed to one year. picture from wikimedia

The history of the universe reduced to one year

Astrophysicists have deduced the age of the Universe (dated from the Big Bang) to be 13.7 BILLION YEARS!
If this time line were compressed into one year, each month would be about one a billion years. What follows is a look at when import events occur during this "cosmic Year".

    Jan 1, Big Bang
    May 1, Milky Way Galaxy origen
    Sept 9, solar system origen
    Sept 14, Earth formation
    Oct 9, oldest fossils (algae)
    Nov 15, 1st cells with nuclei
    December: (1st) oxygen in atmosphere (18th) trilobites, plankton (19th) fish, vertebrates (20th) plants on land (21st) insects, land animals (22) amphibians, winged insects (23) trees, reptiles (24) dinosaurs (26) mammals (27) birds (28) flowers, dinosaurs extinct (29) primates, whales (December 31,10:30p.m.) first humans (11p.m.) stone tools (11:46p.m.) domestic use of fire (11:59:20p.m.) agriculture

Ten second countdown till midnight:

    10 astronomy
    9 alphabet
    8 laws
    7 bronze
    6 iron
    5 Buddha
    4 Archimedes, Ptolomy, Christ
    3 zero and decimals, Rome falls, Islam
    2 Maya, Crusades
    1 science experimentation

During the last second

We have planetary exploration, computers and AI, nanotechnology, global culture, and weapons of mass destruction.
Source article: link