Archive for the ‘Physics and Universe’ Category
We’ve been to Geneva to find out more about the physics of the most amazing machine ever created by man: the LHC. This time, John Ellis, Physicist from the LHC’s Theory Department, will talk with Eduard Punset about the Higgs boson, dark matter and Supersymmetry, which physicists hope to find evidence of in the accelerator at CERN.
To find out more:
* ‘The Coming Revolutions in Particle Physics‘, article in Scientific American.
* ‘International Man of Mysteries‘, interview with John Ellis on the MSNBC’s Cosmic Log blog.
* ‘The Safety of the LHC‘, summary of the LHC Safety Assessment Group in which John Ellis participated (for those of you who are still afraid the LHC will swallow up the Earth).
If there was one topic upon which there existed a broad consensus, even between scientists and those of religious conviction, it was the origin of the Universe. Paul Steinhardt, Physicist and Cosmologist at Princeton University and author of the book ‘Endless Universe‘, has conceived a theoretical model that is somewhat disconcerting to people of religion and surprises academics. According to Steinhardt’s cyclic model, the cosmos has no beginning and no end.
The Universe started 13,700 millions years ago after the Big Bang. The material that today forms thousands of millions of galaxies and billions of stars was compressed into a dot smaller than a pin head, the moment when time and space began to exist. How did the creation of the Universe arise out of nothing? For scientists, the answer is a mystery, but for many of religious faith this is a very comfortable scene where they situate God as the origin of all things.
Steinhardt’s model speculates that the Universe is an infinite succession of Big Bangs. It isn’t like the Big Crush, where they speculated that the Universe might contract again after finishing its expansion. This idea has now been rejected and Steinhardt’s model is different. His ideas depart from the inflationary model that came into being like a sort of patch to cover the questions that the Big Bang model couldn’t explain. Rafael Rebolo, Astrophysicist at the Canaries Astrophysics Institute, will also lend a hand to help us understand it better.
Curious about the ideas of other cultures, Steinhardt has found much in common between his cyclic model and the cosmogony of various religions. The Genesis itself, traditionally close to the Big Bang, has a different interpretation in the Talmud where it states the world has been created many times before this present time. The closest concurrence lies with Hindu cosmogony, which claims figures similar to those that the cyclic model cites.