The last week of summer is almost done and Physics Database is here to summarize the top physics events. Here are the top 3 physics stories from this week, including the links. For more news visit our news section or register for our email newsletter.
1. Do We Live in a 2-D Hologram? (August 26)
Do we live in a hologram? This question sounds like something from science fiction, but, believe it or not, a unique experiment at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator has now started gathering data that could eventually answer the posed question.
“We want to find out whether spacetime is a quantum system just like matter is,” said Craig Hogan, director of Fermilab’s Center for Particle Astrophysics and the developer of the holographic noise theory. “If we see something, it will completely change ideas about space we’ve used for thousands of years.”
Essentially, the experiment probes the limits of the universe’s ability to store information. If there are a set number of bits that tell you where something is, it eventually becomes impossible to find more specific information about the location – even in principle. The instrument testing these limits is Fermilab’s Holometer, or holographic interferometer, the most sensitive device ever created to measure the quantum jitter of space itself.
2. Detecting Neutrinos from the Hearth of the Sun (August 27)
Using one of the most sensitive neutrino detectors on the planet, physicists have directly detected neutrinos created by the ‘keystone’ proton-proton fusion process going on at the sun’s core for the first time. The pp reaction is the first step of a reaction sequence responsible for about 99 percent of the Sun’s power. Solar neutrinos are produced in nuclear processes and radioactive decays of different elements during fusion reactions at the Sun’s core. These particles stream out of the star at nearly the speed of light, as many as 420 billion hitting every square inch of the Earth’s surface per second.
“By comparing the two different types of solar energy radiated, as neutrinos and as surface light, we obtain experimental information about the Sun’s thermodynamic equilibrium over about a 100,000-year timescale,” Andrea Pocar, a member of the international team of physicists, said. “If the eyes are the mirror of the soul, with these neutrinos, we are looking not just at its face, but directly into its core. We have glimpsed the sun’s soul.”
3. Quantum Entanglement Reveals Invisible Objects (August 27)
The picture above shows an image of two cats, which were formed with a two-colour light that has never ‘seen’ the object. These cat outline etchings are normally invisible to the wavelength of light that made the pictures.
To understand the finding more intuitively, let’s look at the behaviour of cameras. A conventional camera captures light that bounces back from an object. But in the experiment reported in the journal Nature, light particles, or photons, that never strike an object are the ones that produce its picture.
“Even other physicists say ‘you can’t do that’ at first, but that is quantum behavior for you, very strange,” says Gabriela Barreto Lemos of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information in Vienna, Austria, who led the study.