Physics News of the Week: Quantum Steps Towards Big Bang and The Search for New Physics

| September 9, 2013 | 0 Comments

This week we have news about new system for quantum simulations, an update for the search for quantum gravity and new methods to search for new physics in the universe. For more news visit our news section. Also, to receive these news and video updates to youer email register for our email newsletter.

1. Quantum Steps Towards Big Bang (September 3)

One of the greatest problems in theoretical physics is the junction of quantum mechanics and general relativity. In particular, this is needed to fully explain such exotic phenomena as black holes and the Big Bang. Now, scientists from Max Planck Institute and Perimeter Institute took another important step towards the unification of the two great theories. Taking the idea of the existence of building blocks of space-time as their starting point , scientists have derived the Friedmann equation, which describes the expanding universe.

One of the main problems of quantum gravity theories is that quantum mechanics and general relativity describe different scales. In addition, in Einstein’s theory, space is a continuum, which brings difficulties in joining the theory with quantum mechanics. Now, however, Daniele Oriti from the Albert Einstein institute and her colleagues Lorenzo Sindoni and Steffen Gielen have made important steps in joining the two theories together.

“Under special assumptions, space is created from these building blocks, and evolves like an expanding universe,” explains Oriti. “For the first time, we were thus able to derive the Friedmann equation directly as part of our complete theory of the structure of space,” he adds. It is important to mention, however, that such treatment assumes that the universe is completely homogeneous, which is not exactly true. Thus, the inhomogeneities, such as galaxies, stars and galaxies will need to be included in the theory in the future. Read more here.

Will Einstein’s and Bohr’s ideas get unified?

2. New System for Quantum Simulation (September 3)

Scientists from the universities of Mainz, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Ulm have proposed a new way for quantum simulations. In a paper published in Physical Review Letters , researchers proposed that a combined system of ultracold trapped ions and fermionic atoms could be used to emulate solid state physics. The main advantage of such a system is that it naturally includes fermionic statistics of the electrons and the electron-sound wave interactions.

The idea of quantum simulations dates back to Richard Feynman. According to Feynman, calculations performed using quantum mechanics would outperform regular computers due to the effects of quantum entanglement and superposition. Thus, Feynman proposed of using simple laboratory quantum systems, which could simulate needed systems of interest. Read more here.

3. New Reasearch May Expose New Aspects of the Universe (September 4)

The best current models of physics cannot explain everything that we see around. Thus, new physics must be discovered to explain the universe. As an example, dark energy and dark matter cannot be explained by the standard model, quantum mechanics or general relativity.
Now, a new paper by Stanley J. Brodsky from Stanford and Xing-Gang Wu from Chongqing University introduces a new method, which makes it simpler to look for new physics. The search for new physics is inherently difficult, because many our current theories have a degree of uncertainty. As an example, many theories and models in particle physics have parameters that physicists do not know exactly how to set. In particular, scientists are not sure how to interpret these parameters, and whether they support or oppose the theory. The new paper removes these parameters, which makes it easier to see if the theory holds water or not. Read more here.




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