Other universes may be detectable, published study claims

If there are oth?er un?iverses out there-as some sci?en?tists pro?pose-then one or more of them might be de?tect?a?ble, a new study sug?gests.

Such a find?ing, ‘while cur?rently spec?u?la?tive even in prin?ci?ple, and probably far-off in prac?tice, would surely con?sti?tute an ep?och?al dis?cov?ery,’ re?search?ers wrote in a pa?per de?tail?ing their stu?dy. The work ap?pears in the Sep?tem?ber is?sue of the re?search jour?nal Phys?i?cal Re?view D.

Cos?mol?o?gists gen?er?ally hold that even if oth?er un?iverses ex?ist, a con?tro?ver?sial idea it?self, they would?n’t be vis?i?ble, and that test?ing for their ex?istence would be hard at best.

A half-sky map of slight tem?per?a?ture vari?a?tions in the cos?mic mi?cro?wave back?ground ra?di?a?tion, thought to map struc?tures in the very ear?ly uni?verse. Blue stands for colder ar?eas; red for hot?ter re?gions, where it’s be?lieved mat?ter was dens?er. These dense re?gions are thought to have lat?er be?come ga?laxy-rich zones. The boxed ar?ea marks an un?u?su?al “cold spot” re?search?ers rec?og?nize in the da?ta. An un?ex?plained gi?ant cos?mic void has also been found in the di?rec?tion of that spot. In a new stu?dy, the?o?ret?i?cal phys?i?cists ar?gue that some sort of ir?reg?u?lar?ity in the mi?cro?wave back?ground, and in mat?ter dis?tri?bu?tion, might in?di?cate where our uni?verse once knocked in?to an?oth?er one. But the re?search?ers take no po?si?tion on wheth?er this cold spot could be the anom?a?ly they’re look?ing for. Much more work is needed, they say.

But the new stu?dy, by three sci?en?tists at the Un?ivers?ity of Cal?i?for?nia, San?ta Cruz, pro?poses that neigh?bor?ing un?iverses might leave a vis?i?ble mark on our own-if, per?chance, they have knocked in?to it. For such a scar to be de?tect?a?ble, they add, the col?li?sion might have had to take place when our un?iverse was very young. Just how the bruise might look re?mains to be clar?i?fied, they say.

Full Story: World of Science.

(Thanks James!)

‘Electromagnetic Wormhole’ Possible with Invisibility Technology

The team of mathematicians that first created the mathematics behind the “invisibility cloak” announced by physicists last October has now shown that the same technology could be used to generate an “electromagnetic wormhole.”

In the study, which is to appear in the Oct. 19 issue of Physical Review Letters, Allan Greenleaf, professor of mathematics at the University of Rochester, and his coauthors lay out a variation on the theme of cloaking. Their results open the possibility of building a sort of invisible tunnel between two points in space.


Current technology can create objects invisible only to microwave radiation, but the mathematical theory allows for the wormhole effect for electromagnetic waves of all frequencies. With this in mind, Greenleaf and his coauthors propose several possible applications. Endoscopic surgeries where the surgeon is guided by MRI imaging are problematical because the intense magnetic fields generated by the MRI scanner affect the surgeon’s tools, and the tools can distort the MRI images. Greenleaf says, however, that passing the tools through an EM wormhole could effectively hide them from the fields, allowing only their tips to be “visible” at work.

Full Story: University of Rochester News.

(Thanks James!)

What happened to the science-fiction future?

If this is the future, someone forgot to stock it properly. Where are the personal service robots, the moon vacations, the self-contained cities rising out of the smog? What happened to all those sci-fi prophecies? In Where’s My Jetpack? (Bloomsbury), Popular Mechanics columnist Daniel Wilson moans that ‘it’s the twenty-first century, and things are a little disappointing.’ Wilson, the author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising, begs ‘all the scientists, inventors, and tinkerers out there’ to ‘please hurry up’ (emphasis in original).

Wilson shouldn’t be so moony. Fanciful futurist visions can obscure all the neat stuff we’ve accumulated, once-wild innovations that are far cooler and more functional than jetpacks. (Microwave ovens, anyone?) They also make it easy to forget that the ultimate responsibility for choosing which technologies fill our lives lies with us, the ordinary consumers, more than any rocket scientists. Take the titular jetpack. It exists-but no one really wants it. It’s a 125-pound monster with a flight time of 30 seconds, powered by expensive fuel. The dream of individual human flight was realized in 1961, and we haven’t been able to find any use for it outside of Bond movies, the first Super Bowl halftime show, and Ovaltine commercials.

Full Story: Reason.

See also: The prescience of Max Headroom.

German Scientists claim to break Light-Speed Barrier

According to Einstein’s special theory of relativity, surpassing the speed of light, approximately 300,000km/second, is impossible because it would take an infinite amount of energy to accelerate an object past that speed. However, two German scientists claim to have surpassed this limit by use of a phenomenon known as “quantum tunneling.”

The scientists – whose claims have yet to be verified by the scientific community at large – performed an experiment where microwave photons appear to travel almost instantaneously between two prisms in a “tunnel” where instant travel – and an apparent violation of the laws of special relativity – took place.

Full story at ZDNet.

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