Physics News of the Week: Mysteries of Dark Matter and Quantum Mechanics

| November 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

Another week has gone by and it’s time to review the top research done throughout the week. As always, here are the top 3 news stories with corresponding links, plus some additional news. If you would like to receive these news and other free stuff straight to your email, register for our email newsletter.

1. String Field Theory Could be the Foundation of Quantum Mechanics (Nov 3)

Two USC researchers have proposed a link between string field theory and quantum mechanics that could open the door to using string field theory as the foundation for all known physics. “This could solve the mystery of where quantum mechanics comes from,” said Itzhak Bars, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences professor and lead author of the paper.

Rather than use quantum mechanics to validate string field theory, the researchers worked backwards and used string field theory to try to validate quantum mechanics. In particular, they showed that quantum commutation rules can be derived from geometry of strings joining and splitting.


Could dark matter be explained by Macros?

2. Standard Model May Account for Dark Matter  (Nov 4)

For more than three decades the physics community has been hunting for the tiny exotic particles that could explain dark matter without much luck. Recently, the Case Western Reserve University theoretical physicists have suggested a possible reason for that. In particular, Glenn Starkman and David Jacobs suggest that dark matter could be made out of Macros — macroscopic objects of varying sizes that could be built from standard model particles and could potentially explain the properties of dark matter.

A number of possible solutions have been offered to explain the mystery of dark matter throughout the years including WIMPS, axions, Jupiters, white dwarfs, neutron stars, stellar black holes, the black holes in centers of galaxies and massive neutrinos with. However, so far none of these explanations have been accepted by the physics community. “That opens the possibility that stable strange nuclear matter was made in the early universe and dark matter is nothing more than chunks of strange nuclear matter or other bound states of quarks, or of baryons, which are themselves made of quarks,” he said. Such dark matter would fit the Standard Model. For more info, read the paper here.

3. The Mystery of Pulsar Rarity at the Center of our Galaxy (Nov 6)

The galactic centre is a unique place where action never ends — with lots of gas, dust and binary stars astronomers naturally expect that there should be  hundreds of dead binary stars close to the centre of the Milky Way. The mystery of pulsar rarity refers to the fact that despite our expectations, scientists have observed only a single young pulsar near the centre of our galaxy.

The question thus arises: where are all those rapidly spinning, dense stellar corpses known as pulsars? Joseph Bramante of Notre Dame University and astrophysicist Tim Linden of the University of Chicago have recently offered a possible solution. As Linden and Bramante discuss in their new paper, dark matter, which is plentiful in the galactic center, gloms onto the pulsars, accumulating until the pulsars become so dense they collapse into a black hole. For a more detailed explanation read the paper here.

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