Physics News of the Week: A New Model of Cosmic Evolution and Sun’s Long-Lost Brother

| May 12, 2014 |

This week the popular physics news headlines featured stories on the new powerful computer simulation that supports the holographic theory in the context of black holes, the new model of cosmic evolution and the discovery of the first star that was born from the same cloud of gas as our Sun. These news are summarized briefly below, including useful links. To receive these weekly news to your email, register for our newsletter.

1. Computer Simulation Supports the Holographic Theory Describing Black Holes (May 7)

Four researchers including Masanori Hanada, Yoshifumi Hyakutake, Goro Ishiki and Jun Nishimura have recently run a numerical simulation to test the holographic theory describing black hole behavior. The behavior of black holes cannot be fully explained using the current understanding of the laws of physics, since a working theory of quantum gravity is required. However, one of the possible solutions to this problem has been proposed by Juan Martín Maldacena, who states that the dynamical phenomena occurring in a curved space-time can be described by a theory on a flat space-time, just as a hologram can record the information of 3D objects on a plane. 

This idea has been recently tested numerically by calculating the relationship between the mass and the temperature of a black hole on a computer. The results obtained for black holes of various size agreed with the results obtained by approximate calculation of quantum gravity effects based on conventional superstring theory. This goes beyond the numerous tests made so far, which have been restricted to the case in which the quantum gravity effects can be neglected.


2. New Model, Spanning 13 Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution, Makes Important Advances (May 8)

The new Illustris model, constructed by researchers at several institutions, including MIT, can simulate 13 billion years of cosmic evolution, and has generated a new degree of fidelity for certain observed features of the universe. This includes frequency with which galaxies of different shapes occur in the universe, as well as the preponderance of certain elements in space.

“With this model, we are able to get agreement with observational data on small scales and large scales,” said Mark Vogelsberger, an assistant professor of physics at MIT. 

In another area, the model predicts that supernovas, among other phenomena, have helped redistribute matter throughout the universe to a degree that affects the interpretation of future precision tests of cosmology conducted by space-based telescopes, such as NASA’s WFIRST survey, and EUCLID, the European Space Agency’s program.

3. Astronomers Find Sun’s Long-Lost Brother (May 10)

A team of researchers led by University of Texas at Austin astronomer Ivan Ramirez has recently identified the first star that was almost certainly born from the same cloud of gas and dust as our star. Finding out more about such “siblings”, according to researchers, will most definitely lead to a more thorough understanding of the formation of our Sun. “We want to know where we were born,” Ramirez said. “If we can figure out in what part of the galaxy the Sun formed, we can constrain conditions on the early solar system. That could help us understand why we are here.”

Additionally, further research might reveal that, even though the chances are small, stars such as  the recently identified HD 162826 could host planets with good enough conditions for life. To find out more about the chemical analysis done when identifying a star, use the link above. 

More news:

Electric Simulation of the Brain Alters Dreams
Black Hole Formation Clues
Did Slippery Sand Help Egyptians Build the Pyramids?



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