Physics News of the Week: On Water on Europa and the Holographic Principle

| December 15, 2013 | 0 Comments

Today, as always, we take a look at what has been going on in the world of science. Here are the top 3 news of the week plus some additional links for extra reading. If you would like to receive these news and other articles straight to your email box, register for our email newsletter.

1. Europa Spouts Water (December 12)

Europa — one of the moons of Jupiter — is one of the most likely candidates to host life in the solar system. Recently, the images taken by the Hubble space telescope revealed surpluses of hydrogen and oxygen in the moon’s southern hemisphere, which were confirmed as water vapour plumes. The importance of the discovery comes from the hopes that it indicates a possibility that the underground ocean could be accessed from Europa’s surface. If that turned out to be correct, future missions could probe the icy moon for life.

2. Collapse of the Universe (December 12)

One of the more exotic theoretical predictions in modern physics is that the universe may one day collapse. In particular, according to this prediction, a radical shift in the forces of the universe will cause every little particle in it to become extremely heavy, thus causing the universe to collapse. This, as you might have guessed, is related to the Higgs field. The idea is that the phase transition in the universe will happen if a bubble is created where the Higgs-field associated with the Higgs-particle reaches a different value than the rest of the universe. And now, according to the calculations from physicists at the University of Southern Denmark, the risk of such collapse is greater than previously thought. To find out more, use the link to the phys.org article above.

3. Is the Universe a Giant Hologram (December 15)

One of the most surprising conclusions coming from the  Holographic Principle is that the whole universe could be a two-dimensional information structure encoded on the cosmological horizon. Now, scientists have found the clearest evidence for the Holographic principle yet. A new experimental simulation proposed by Japanese scientist, Yoshifumi Hyakutake, and his team at the Ibaraki University suggested an explanation for the varying black hole energies in parallel universes and how they shed light on the connection between quantum physics and general relativity.

By adding string theory to the picture and deepening the ideas of Juan Maldacena, Hyakutake measured the internal energy of black holes and explored how string theory could explain the strange behaviour of black holes. In addition, Hyakutake and his colleagues have laid the foundation of a mathematical proof that the universe can be measured according to two different approaches – one that involves gravity and one that does not. If these two approaches are identical, the universe might be explained by using only quantum mechanics.

More news:

Inconstant Radioactive Decay Startles Physicists

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