Matryoshka World

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Subatomic calculations indicate finite lifespan for universe

The universe is going to end says Joseph Lykken, a theoretical physicist with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. Lykeen spoke before presenting his research at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston on Monday, February 18, 2013.

"A little bubble of what you might think of as an ‘alternative' universe will appear somewhere and then it will expand out and destroy us," Lykken said, adding that the event will unfold at the speed of light.

This conclusion is based on the most up to date calculations of the mass of the Higgs boson-126 billion electron volts - a critical number in figuring out the fate of the universe.

The good news: this will not happen for many billions of years. 

See also:  The top quark and Higgs boson masses and the stability of the electroweakvacuum

Friday, February 15, 2013

New York Times has a collection of Russian meteor videos

Spectacular Videos of Meteor Over Siberia

Why we will never build a space elevator

I do not agree with this assessment which I believe to be overly pessimistic.  However there is not doubt the technological hurdles are very real, and it will probably be several decades before such a project becomes at all feasible under even a best case scenario. 

Much more promising is the prospect for a space elevator on the moon.  This paper discusses the possibility of and potential design of a lunar elevator.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

New study of Kepler data suggests there are billions of habitable planets in our galaxy

New research from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics suggests that as many as 6% of all red dwarfs host Earth-sized planets within their habitable zones — a calculation that brings the total number of red dwarf alien Earths across the galaxy to 4.5 billion.

7 TED talks on the wonder of 3D printing

3d printing holds untold promise in a number of areas.  This link provides a list of recent TED talks on the promise and potential peril of 3d printing.

This post on the European Space Agency website discusses using 3d printing to build a lunar base.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Is the universe fine tuned for making life...or black holes?

io9 has a summary of the argument presented by Lee Smolin in The Life of the Cosmos: What is the purpose of the Universe? Here is one possible answer

Smolin's Theory of Cosmological Natural Selection posits that a process analogous to biological natural selection applies to the creation of universes. From Wikipedia:
The theory surmises that a collapsing black hole causes the emergence of a new universe on the "other side", whose fundamental constant parameters (speed of light, Planck length and so forth) may differ slightly from those of the universe where the black hole collapsed. Each universe therefore gives rise to as many new universes as it has black holes. Thus the theory contains the evolutionary ideas of "reproduction" and "mutation" of universes, but has no direct analogue of natural selection. However, given any universe that can produce black holes that successfully spawn new universes, it is possible that some number of those universes will reach heat death with unsuccessful parameters. So, in a sense, fecundity cosmological natural selection is one where universes could die off before successfully reproducing, just as any biological being can die without having offspring.
 Leonard Susskind, who promotes a similar string theory landscape, stated: "I'm not sure why Smolin's idea didn't attract much attention. I actually think it deserved far more than it got"

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Fabric of the Cosmos: What Is Space

I've posted a clip from Nova's Fabric of the Cosmos before, but this entire episode is worth watching. Narrated by Brian Greene