Closer we come to the beginning!



Could string theory explain similarities between utracold gases and quark gluon plasma?
June 10, 2010
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
For a few millionths of a second after the Big Bang, the universe consisted of a hot soup of elementary particles called quarks and gluons. A few microseconds later, those particles began cooling to form protons and neutrons, the building blocks of matter. Could string theory explain similarities between utracold gases and quark gluon plasma?
A visualization of one of the first full-energy collisions between gold ions at Brookhaven Lab’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, as captured by the Solenoidal Tracker At RHIC (STAR) detector.
Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory
For a few millionths of a second after the Big Bang, the universe consisted of a hot soup of elementary particles called quarks and gluons. A few microseconds later, those particles began cooling to form protons and neutrons, the building blocks of matter.

Over the past decade, physicists around the world have been trying to re-create that soup, known as quark-gluon plasma (QGP), by slamming together nuclei of atoms with enough energy to produce trillion-degree temperatures.
“If you’re interested in the properties of the microseconds-old universe, the best way to study it is not by building a telescope, it’s by building an accelerator,” says Krishna Rajagopal, an MIT theoretical physicist who studies QGP.
Quarks and gluons, though they make up protons and neutrons, behave very differently from those heavier particles. Their interactions are governed by a theory known as quantum chromodynamics, developed in part by MIT professors Jerome Friedman and Frank Wilczek, who both won Nobel prizes for their work. However, the actual behavior of quarks and gluons is difficult to study because they are confined within heavier particles. The only place in the universe where QGP exists is inside high-speed accelerators, for the briefest flashes of time.
In 2005, scientists at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory reported creating QGP by smashing gold atoms together at nearly the speed of light. These collisions can produce temperatures up to 4 trillion degrees — 250,000 times warmer than the sun’s interior and hot enough to melt protons and neutrons into quarks and gluons.
The resulting super-hot, super-dense blob of matter, about a trillionth of a centimeter across, could give scientists new insights into the properties of the very early universe. So far, they have already made the surprising discovery that QGP is a nearly frictionless liquid, not the gas that physicists had expected.
By doing higher-energy collisions, scientists now hope to find out more about the properties of quark gluon plasma and whether it becomes gas-like at higher temperatures. They also want to delve further into the very surprising similarities that have been seen between QGP and ultracold gases (near absolute zero) that MIT’s Martin Zwierlein and others have created in the laboratory. Both substances are nearly frictionless, and theoretical physicists suspect that string theory may explain both phenomena, says Rajagopal.
Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

The next theory that will become absolute fact!


How the Big Bang discovery came about

By Meg Urry
updated 10:03 AM EDT, Sat March 29, 2014


This long-exposure image from the Hubble Telescope is the <a href='' target='_blank'>deepest-ever picture taken of a cluster of galaxies. The cluster, </a>called Abell 2744, contains several hundred galaxies as they looked 3.5 billion years ago; the more distant galaxies appear as they did more than 12 billion years ago, not long after the Big Bang.<!-- -->
</br> This long-exposure image from the Hubble Telescope is the deepest-ever picture taken of a cluster of galaxies. The cluster, called Abell 2744, contains several hundred galaxies as they looked 3.5 billion years ago; the more distant galaxies appear as they did more than 12 billion years ago, not long after the Big Bang.
NASA’s NuSTAR telescope array generated the first map of radioactivity in the remnants of an exploding star, or supernova. Blue in this image of Cassiopeia A represents radioactive material. Click through to see other wonders of the universe.//
A supernova was spotted on January 21 in Messier 82, one of the nearest big galaxies. This wide view image was taken on January 22.//
The M82 supernova, seen here, has been designated SN2014J because it is the 10th supernova detected in 2014. At 11.4 million light years from Earth, it is the closest Type Ia supernova recorded since systematic studies with telescopes began in the 1930s.//
Is that a giant hand waving at us? Actually, it’s what’s left of a star that died and exploded a long time ago. Astronomers nicknamed it the “Hand of God.” NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, took this image in high-energy X-rays, shown in blue. The image was combined with images from another space telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory. //
The Hubble Space Telescope captured this image of the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, one of the largest and closest galaxies of its kind. The center of the galaxy is mysterious, researchers say, because it has a double nucleus — a supermassive black hole that may be ringed by a lopsided disc of stars, giving it the appearance of a dual core.//
Hubble scientists say this is the best-ever view of the Tarantula Nebula, which is located in one of our closest galactic neighbors, the Large Magellanic Cloud.//
Those spots on our sun appear small, but even a moderate-sized spot is about as big as Earth. They occur when strong magnetic fields poke through the sun’s surface and let the area cool in comparison to the surrounding area.//
This Hubble image looks a floating marble or a maybe a giant, disembodied eye. But it’s actually a nebula with a giant star at its center. Scientists think the star used to be 20 times more massive than our sun, but it’s dying and is destined to go supernova.//

  • Meg Urry describes the sequence of discoveries that lead to evidence of “inflation”
  • Urry: Inflation, far faster than speed of light, happened in the first instant of the universe
  • Urry: Theory began 80 years ago with Edwin Hubble: Telescope named after him
  • Urry: After inflation, the universe went into more “sedate” pace of Big Bang we see now

Editor’s note: Meg Urry is the Israel Munson professor of physics and astronomy at Yale University and director of the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics.

(CNN) — For the past week-and-a-half, people have been marveling over the discovery of evidence supporting “inflation,” the theory describing the birth pangs of the Big Bang 13.7 billions years ago. What do these findings mean and how did they come about?


Lots of articles reported the news, but I am going to try to explain it in depth. Stick with me, because this is one of the most exciting astrophysical discoveries in decades.


Meg Urry

Meg Urry

Humans have wondered about the origin of the universe for millennia, and last week’s news brought us a little closer to an answer. What this development means, basically, is that for the first time, we may be seeing what happened in the first billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second of the universe.


Assuming this discovery is verified by other similar experiments, it means the very birth of the universe can be studied. These will tell us about the physics of matter and energy well beyond the reach of earthly particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider.


In a press conference on March 17, leaders of the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (BICEP2) experiment announced their discovery of evidence of gravitational waves — predicted by Einstein’s theory of General Relativity — that were generated by the near-instantaneous expansion of the universe by some 50 factors of 10, or a factor of 100 million, trillion, trillion. Those waves were predicted by the theory of inflation, developed 30 years ago by Alan Guth, Andrei Linde and others.


Inflation is the instantaneous initial expansion, far faster than the speed of light, that “describes the propulsion mechanism that drove the universe into the period of tremendous expansion that we call the Big Bang,” as Alan Guth put it. Incidentally, the term “Big Bang” was coined as an insult by a physicist who didn’t like the theory.


The Big Bang idea itself is simple. Edwin Hubble — after whom the Hubble Space Telescope is named — showed more than 80 years ago that our universe is expanding. Objects in space are not hurtling outward: Space itself is becoming bigger over time. That means the distance between two galaxies grows even if neither galaxy is moving through space at all.


By extrapolating the Hubble expansion backward, we have long known that the universe was once smaller by many, many factors of 10. All the mass and energy of the entire universe squeezed into such a tiny volume would have been much hotter and denser. Then, as the universe expanded over time, the energy density went down, so the temperature cooled. This Big Bang idea implied that cool relic radiation should be visible today.


Indeed, this Big Bang glow of radiation was discovered in the early 1960s by two Bell Labs engineers, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, who were trying to build the world’s best radio antenna.



Watch this video

Ripples in space-time revealed


Watch this video

A Big Bang breakthrough?

Their instrument recorded a mysterious irreducible low-level noise from every direction. Apparently worried that the surface of the antenna horn had been corrupted by, um, debris from pigeons roosting inside, the engineers repeatedly disassembled and cleaned the antenna, to no avail.


Physicists later connected this measurement to the Big Bang prediction of a cosmic microwave background, for which Penzias and Wilson were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1978. As a colleague at Bell Labs joked, referring to their obsession with pigeon droppings, “They went looking for dung and came up with gold. For most of us [scientists], it works the other way.”


The Big Bang idea was well established by the 1980s. But it did not explain important pieces of the story.


First, the universe looks pretty homogeneous and isotropic — that is, galaxies in any one direction look very similar to galaxies in the opposite direction, no matter how distant. The number of galaxies, their masses, their shapes and their stellar content are remarkably similar, to the furthest reaches we can observe.


This is surprising because the Big Bang-Hubble expansion implied that very distant regions should never have been in causal contact. How then could they be so similar? Here is a simple analogy: Imagine a thermos of ice water and a thermos of hot tea. As long as these two liquids are separate, they will have different temperatures. But if the two liquids are combined, the mixed liquid will quickly reach an intermediate temperature. Similarly, two well-separated regions of the universe can be alike only if they were at one time in contact.


The theory of inflation explains this quite naturally: If at the beginning the universe inflated at an extraordinarily rapid rate — much faster than the Hubble-measured expansion today — then all parts of the universe visible today were once in contact. That means they had the same initial physical conditions (such as temperature and density), so that similar stars and galaxies eventually formed out of the cosmic soup.


Inflation also explains why the universe has a very “flat” geometry — something revealed in the 1990s by analysis of the spatial distribution of tiny fluctuations (hot and cold spots) in the cosmic microwave background radiation.


In principle, other geometries of space were possible. For example, a two-dimensional surface can be flat like a table; convex like the surface of a sphere (also called open); or concave like the surface of a saddle (also called closed).


For the universe to be flat requires a very precise balance. It has infinitely more ways to be open or closed, with strong curvature, weak curvature, or anything in between. But to be flat — well, that’s like balancing on a knife edge. Inflation naturally explains this odd fact.


Specifically, the idea is that, at the very beginning, the universe must have inflated enough to stretch the fabric of space until no trace of curvature remained. Imagine inflating a beach ball to the size of the Earth: you can easily see the curvature of the beach ball in your hands but once it’s hyper-inflated, any piece of its surface seems very flat, just as the Earth feels flat locally.


The enormous inflation in size would effectively erase the initial conditions in the universe. Whatever the initial temperature, for example, inflation would cool the universe to absolute zero. Even if the initial universe were very lumpy, after inflation we can see only a very smooth, local part of the original volume — and it would seem perfectly flat.


After about one hundred millionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second, according to theorists, whatever repulsive gravity caused inflation then transformed into a hot, dense soup of particles and energy. At this point, the Big Bang expansion that Hubble discovered took over.


How inflation began and how it ended are not yet understood, but this simple idea of inflation neatly explains otherwise odd characteristics — isotropy and flatness — of our universe.


Still, until now, there had been no direct evidence of inflation. What BICEP2 saw was the imprint of inflation on the cosmic microwave background radiation.


Specifically, inflation should have generated a lot of gravitational waves — that is, it would cause propagating ripples of space itself. Such waves have a characteristic pattern, squeezing space rhythmically in one direction then the perpendicular direction, like two hands pressing a rubber ball top to bottom then side to side.


This distortion of space causes a special pattern of polarization in the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation. So what is polarization?


Light is a wave that oscillates back and forth — polarized light oscillates preferentially in one plane. Because most light is a mix of random directions of polarization, its net polarization is zero. But any scattered light, like sunlight reflected off water, is polarized — which is why polarized sunglasses cut down substantially on glare.


BICEP2 scientists searched for that special pattern of polarization in the cosmic microwave background that would show the evidence of inflation, working for several years analyzing and reanalyzing their data.

As they ran through every possible check of the analysis, team members finally began to believe they had detected the first direct signs of inflation.


Now other experiment teams are redoubling efforts to find the same signal — or to find contradictions. The reported BICEP2 signal is unexpectedly strong, so it should be within reach of at least some of these experiments.


Physicists around the world know: the BICEP2 discovery is only the beginning of the story. If this result is verified by independent experiments, new, more accurate experiments will be designed to better measure the polarization imprint. This in turn will tell us about how matter and energy behave in conditions much hotter and denser than on Earth or any other place in the cosmos.


As Carl Sagan once said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Let the observations begin.

– The big deal between believers and reasonable people is the constant reference to the Big Bang Theory as ‘it’s just a theory.’ Now the “smart stupid people, ” as Bill Maher calls them, the scientists who can actually cling to the fairy stories of the bible and still have lofty science degrees, I can’t tell you why they could remain so deluded. I can only speak of those who blithely speak of scientific things and haven’t a clue as to what they are disparaging. It takes thousands, if not millions of hours of research and fact basing to establish a scientific ‘theory.’ People constantly throw the word around for their own thoughts but would shrivel under the rigors of scientific research that establishes a theory. These experiments must turn out exactly the same every time that they are performed or the theory is thrown out and the science team goes back to the drawing board. 

Theists just blindly accept a wild bunch of fairy stories written in the Bronze Age by people speaking to a crowd of complete illiterates. I, for one, would not be able to look an intelligent person in the eye and say that I believed the stories of the bible, and I refuse to cherry-pick things that I like over those more unsavory things in the doctrine. Therefore, I have to use skepticism, logic and reason to come to a sensible conclusion rather than stick to fables followed by fearful delusional shepherds dancing around a campfire fearing the wrath of a genocidal maniac.

I have it on enough authority that the above is the best evidence on the evolution of the universe and will keep looking to science to answer my questions instead of Bronze-age fear mongering. 


My ultimate goal!


I have just concluded a very detailed explanation to my son of the very complex and fascinating concepts explained in Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s reboot of the Carl Sagan classic. I grew up with the Sagan version and was, of course, floored and dazed by the incredibly immense data presented in such a short documentary. The reboot is a series and not a limited documentary, but presents the proof and theory discovered since the release of the original Cosmos. I again , am floored by the incredible details provided by the genius Tyson about the origins of the universe and our human aspirations to decode the minute beginnings of this mystery called the Universe.

As I teach my 12 year old son and my six year old daughter the wonders of the universe, I am still challenged to answer questions posited by the information being presented. I go to the scientific texts and papers and glean the careful answers to these questions and am completely satisfied with the data given. Why? Because the answers are rooted in thousands and sometimes millions of hours of tried and true scientific data borne of provable discovery. The same discovery that is reviled by the religious scholar today. The same discovery that is refuted by the likes of William Lane Craig, Sye Ten Bruggencate and Ken Ham, the idiot titular head of the ridiculous Creation Museum. Now I know that the many thousands of factions that claim legitimacy in the Christian faith claim to have the right answer, but one should look at science when questioning because it has standards that hold ALL factions to same quality outcomes. Science, unlike religion, does not have different means in which to test it’s data, experiments are all held to the same standard and debunked if found to be completely in error!

I see the cosmic calendar that Tyson uses with it’s 12 months, and am taken aback by the reference that our species took only about 14 days within the 365 days to evolve. Compared to the 13.5 Billion year calendar, we were but a footnote in the last evolutionary phase in the cosmos to appear on the land of a backwater accretion disc in the ordinary galaxy called the Milky Way. Poor strange people trying to make sense of the unknown and trying to find a way to control less intelligent beings created an anthropomorphic god that had infinite power so as to intimidate the simple folks and their pliable minds.

Throughout history we see these types of gods used to control the greater populations because 90% of the people are sheep who are tractable, and 10% are held back by these followers. The creators of the gods of old do their best to control the people, but as science takes hold these people learn to think for themselves. If you look at most Catholics, they do not actually believe in God, they just are not ready to say so. This is fact, just watch Bill Maher’s Religulous and you will see this. Secular people are just those who lack the convictions to call themselves atheists.  They don’t believe, so what is that? ATHEISM!

Christians are just those who cannot read and do not believe that their God is an amoral genocidal, pedophile, maniac murderer, who carries out jealous homicidal campaigns of terror against innocent people who do not believe in the tenets of His tyrannical reign! Atheists and science buffs are people who put absolutely NO stock in biblical non-sensical bullshit and trust the scientists of this world to solve the mysteries and theories presented by scholars in this age of reason and logic! Sorry, but this is the most sensible course! Due to the overwhelming burden of evidence, I have to say that Creation survives as nothing more than an interesting story to be told as a footnote to explaining the history of Evolution!

New Earth Creation has already been debunked as total fallacy and retardo-bullshit. No one with credibility needs to go toe to toe with these delusional assholes because they are obviously completely crazy! If anyone, and I mean ANYONE can dispute the findings of the genius Tyson, then I will listen with open ears. Tell me it’s the free will of human beings or the ‘will’ of God, then I will be asking many more questions before the night is over! Thanks for the late soapbox and I will now climb down!

Closer we get to the origin!


Did Life Begin In A Drop of Water?

Image credit: 
the_tahoe_guy via flickr |
Rights information: 
The first hefty organic molecules may have formed within tiny droplets.
Originally published: 
Jan 30 2014 – 4:00pm
Sophie Bushwick, ISNS Contributor

(ISNS) – Small molecules are normally slow to combine into larger ones. But in that case, how did big organic molecules, which make up life on Earth, first form? The answer might lie in a tiny aerosol droplet, an environment where this type of chemical reaction occurs much more quickly.

Creating a single large molecule is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. If you shake the puzzle out onto the floor, you can expect the pieces to fall into a disordered jumble, not into their correct positions. To put the puzzle together, you must spend time and energy increasing the order of the system.

Likewise, when a cell in your body makes a complex molecule such as DNA, it must use up energy in the assembly process. But before life had evolved, there was no cellular machinery to build these ordered molecules. So how did they form?

“You need to find a mechanism where energy has been provided for these molecules to form the bigger one necessary for the origin of life,” said Sylvain Ladame, of Imperial College London.

Ladame and his collaborators from France, Germany, and Massachusetts may have found that mechanism inside a tiny droplet. As they describe in a new research paper inPhysical Review Letters,  chemical reactions where two molecules combine to form a new one run much more quickly in this confined environment.

To measure the speed of a reaction, researchers chose one that’s easy to monitor: the formation of a fluorescent molecule from two non-fluorescent ones. First, the team mixed the smaller molecules in water. Then, they used the precise channels on a microchip to combine the water with oil, creating oil-coated droplets whose size depended on the width of the channel, ranging from 8 microns — that’s 8 millionths of a meter, roughly the size of a human blood cell — to 34 microns wide.

By measuring the increase in fluorescence, the researchers could see how fast the reaction was progressing. And they saw the glowing molecule formed much more quickly and efficiently in droplets than it did in a larger reservoir of water. The smaller the droplet, the faster the reaction occurred.

That’s because in comparison with their volume, small droplets have a much larger surface. “At the interface of a droplet, you could basically consider that you have a kind of two dimensional plane,” explained Ladame. “In two dimensions, the likelihood of two molecules meeting is much higher.”

Which means that the non-fluorescent molecules are more likely to meet, join together, and form the fluorescent molecule when they’re on the droplet’s surface. In the center of the droplet, however, the big molecule can still break apart. This creates a tug-of-war between the surface, where the large molecules form, and the volume, where the smaller ones dominate.

As the droplets shrink, the surface area grows in relation to the volume. This pulls the tug-of-war in favor of the formation of the large fluorescent molecule, and speeds up the reaction.

“This one example shows in detail how this chemistry is more favorable at the surface of these droplets, and therefore depends on droplet radius,” said Veronica Vaida, of the University of Colorado Boulder.

Vaida, who was not involved with the new paper, researches atmospheric aerosols, the tiny drops of water that form at the surface of the ocean. Combined, these aerosols have a greater surface area than the ocean, and they tend to carry a variety of organic molecules.

Because the naturally occurring aerosols are clearly friendly to organic molecules, Vaida and her collaborators previously suggested they could have nurtured the earliest building blocks of life. The new research, although it looked at a different type of droplet, still provides an explanation for how ancient aerosols could have stimulated molecular growth on the young Earth.

Vaida has found other clues suggesting droplets’ large surface area was key to the development of life. She observed peptide bonds, which help hold proteins together, forming at the surface between water and air.

Beyond the search for life’s origins, aerosol droplets could also lead to the creation of new compounds. The researchers suggest molecules that are normally difficult to manufacture could be grown in droplets, then extracted.

As Vaida put it, “The surface of these drops is a very special place.”

Sophie Bushwick is a freelance science writer based in New York City. Her work has appeared in numerous print and online outlets. She tweets at @sophiebushwick

From the blogster- The closer science gets to explaining the origins of everything, the more excited I get! 

Quantum Theory Experiment


Cosmic Experiment Aims To Close Loophole In Quantum Theory

Image credit: 
ESO/M. Kornmesser |
Distant quasars could help confirm “spooky action” between particles.
Originally published: 
Mar 5 2014 – 12:15pm
Charles Q. Choi, ISNS Contributor

(ISNS) — An experiment of cosmic proportions, looking at some of the most distant visible corners in the universe, could help close what may be the last major loophole in quantum physics, or shake it to its very foundations.

In the bizarre realm of quantum physics, two or more particles can get linked so they stay in sync instantaneously no matter how far apart they are. Albert Einstein derisively called this seemingly impossible connection “spooky action at a distance” — scientists nowadays give it the name quantum entanglement. Einstein believed that quantum entanglement could be explained on a deeper level by the more intuitive laws of classical physics.

In the classical picture, two objects in different regions of space could not influence each other faster than the speed of light. Also, every particle would have well-defined properties at every moment in time — classical mechanics-based, “hidden variables” that would dictate the strangely synchronized entangled behavior between the particles.

Fifty years ago, physicist John Bell devised a mathematical formula that predicted what scenarios would occur if the counterintuitive predictions of quantum physics were governed by these classical hidden variables. Experiments on Bell’s theorem have supported a purely quantum physics picture, rejecting the existence of hidden variables and showing particles are linked more strongly than one would expect under the laws of classical physics.

However, researchers have also identified major potential loopholes in Bell’s theorem.

Two have been closed, but a third remains, “one known as ‘setting independence’ or sometimes colorfully called the ‘free will’ loophole,” said theoretical physicist David Kaiser at MIT. “It’s a really crazy-sounding loophole, but it turns out it’s the easiest way to fake an outcome in tests of Bell’s theorem.”

In this scenario, the two detectors measuring the entangled particles have a shared history, via an event, information or third party they have in common. This could link them and lead to biased results. Therefore, a scientist testing Bell’s theorem would not have complete control in choosing what each detector measures.

To solve this loophole, Kaiser and his colleagues have proposed looking for answers from the most remote corners of the known cosmos.

The experiment they propose relies on the fact that the universe has been expanding ever since the Big Bang happened nearly 14 billion years ago. As such, objects can be far enough away from each other to have been out of contact since the beginning of the cosmos, with no way for any signal to have ever reached from one to the other. This makes it possible to test the last loophole in Bell’s theorem for a so-called “Cosmic Bell” experiment.

The experiment would involve a pair of telescopes, aimed at opposite sides of the sky at different quasars — supermassive black holes up to billions of times the mass of the sun, which release extraordinarily large amounts of light as they devour matter.

The experiment would create two entangled particles here on Earth and send one of the two to both telescopes. The particles would be measured by detectors at the telescope, machines that would rely on information from the two unconnected quasars to determine which properties they would measure of the two entangled particles.

The scientists reason that because each detector’s settings are controlled by quasars that have shared no history since the universe was born, it should be impossible for these detectors to be part of a conspiracy to skew their results. If the experiment discovered the measurements of the entangled particles matched each other more than predicted by the laws of classical physics, that should close the “free will” loophole.

Although the researchers expect this experiment to verify quantum theory’s predictions, if the test finds otherwise, “that would be a win also,” Kaiser said. “It could mean that we have to change quantum theory, the fundamental theory governing matter. Or it could mean that there could be weird activity in the very earliest moments of the Big Bang.”

Kaiser said that the experiment is possible using modern technology.

The distance between each telescope and the source of the entangled particles needs to be on the order of 50 kilometers. Scientists have already carried out experiments with entangled particles 144 kilometers apart, between the two Canary Islands of La Palma and Tenerife off the northwest coast of Africa, a feat that was announced in 2007.

“It turns out the Canary Islands have some of the largest optical telescopes in the world, so maybe we could do it there,” Kaiser said.

High energy physicist Warren Huelsnitz with the MiniBooNE experiment at Fermilab in Batavia, Ill., who did not take part in this research, noted the experiment would be very challenging — scientists would have to make sure the light the telescopes measure really came from the quasars, as opposed to light pollution on Earth, or scattered starlight.

However, “If Bell’s inequality is not violated in the ‘Cosmic Bell’ experiment, then that would be truly amazing and it would set quantum mechanics, and perhaps all of physics, on its head,” Huelsnitz said.  Nevertheless, Huelsnitz predicts that the results will likely be consistent with previous tests of Bell’s theorem.

Even closing this loophole “will not entirely rule out hidden-variables theories,” cautioned theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder at the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics in Stockholm, Sweden, who did not participate in this study. For instance, there are so-called superdeterministic hidden variables that Bell’s theorem cannot be used to test. However, she is now investigating whether experiments could show whether those hidden variables exist or not as well.

Kaiser and his colleagues Jason Gallicchio and Andrew Friedman will detail their findingsin the journal Physical Review Letters.

Charles Q. Choi is a freelance science writer based in New York City who has written for The New York Times, Scientific American, Wired, Science, Nature, and many other news outlets. He tweets at @cqchoi.

Awesome discovery!



Scientists reveal ‘major discovery’ at Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics

  • 1 HOUR AGO MARCH 18, 2014 11:45AM
Discovery ... The Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics is set to make a major anno

Discovery … The Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics is set to make a major announcement today which could change the way scientists look at the universe and how it was created. Source: Supplied

ASTRONOMERS say they have spotted evidence that a split-second after the Big Bang, the newly formed universe ballooned out at a pace so astonishing that it left behind ripples in the fabric of the cosmos.

The discovery “gives us a window on the universe at the very beginning,’’ when it was far less than one-trillionth of a second old, said theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State University.

“It’s just amazing,’’ he said. “You can see back to the beginning of time.’’


Cold truth ... the Dark Sector Lab (DSL), located about a kilometre from the Geographic S

Cold truth … the Dark Sector Lab (DSL), located about a kilometre from the Geographic South Pole, which houses the BICEP2 telescope (left) and the South Pole Telescope (right). Source: AFP


If confirmed, experts said, the discovery would be a major advance in the understanding of the early universe. Although many scientists already believed that an initial, extremely rapid growth spurt happened, they have long sought the evidence cited in the new study.

Researchers reported that they found it by peering into the faint light that remains from the Big Bang of nearly 14 billion years ago.

Marc Kamionkowski, a theoretical physicist at Johns Hopkins University who didn’t participate in the research, used a common baseball analogy, saying the finding is “not just a home run. It’s a grand slam.’’

He and other experts said the results must be confirmed by other observations, a standard caveat in science.


Eureka moment ... Clem Pryke, Jamie Bock, Chao-Lin Kuo and John Kovac smile during a news

Eureka moment … Clem Pryke, Jamie Bock, Chao-Lin Kuo and John Kovac smile during a news conference at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusets, regarding their new findings on the early expansion of the universe. Picture: Elise Amendola Source: AP


Right after the Big Bang, the universe was a hot soup of particles. It took about 380,000 years to cool enough that the particles could form atoms, then stars and galaxies. Billions of years later, planets formed from gas and dust that were orbiting stars. The universe has continued to spread out.

Krauss said he thinks the new results could rank among the greatest discoveries in astrophysics over the last 25 years, such as the Nobel prize-winning discovery that the universe’s expansion is accelerating.


Life and death ... NASA celebrates the reboot of COSMOS by releasing images including thi

Life and death … NASA celebrates the reboot of COSMOS by releasing images including this one of a dying star shrouded by a blanket of hailstones forming the bug nebula. Source: Flickr


The results were announced by a collaboration that included researchers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the University of Minnesota, Stanford University, the California Institute of Technology and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The team plans to submit its results to a scientific journal this week, said its leader, John Kovac of Harvard.

Astronomers scanned about 2 per cent of the sky for three years with a telescope at the South Pole, where the air is exceptionally dry.


Billions of stars ... This picture released on March 17 and taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble

Billions of stars … This picture released on March 17 and taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the Monkey Head Nebula or NGC2174. Source: AFP


They were looking for a specific pattern in light waves within the faint microwave glow left over from the Big Bang. The pattern has long been considered evidence of rapid growth, known as inflation. Kovac called it “the smoking-gun signature of inflation.’’

The reported detection suggests that “inflation has sent us a telegram,’’ Kamionkowski said.

The researchers say the light-wave pattern was caused by gravitational waves, which are ripples in space and time. If verified, the new work would be the first detection of such waves from the birth of the universe, which have been called the first tremors of the Big Bang.


Eye in the sky ... NASA has celebrated the reboot of the famous COSMOS television series

Eye in the sky … NASA has celebrated the reboot of the famous COSMOS television series by releasing incredible space images, including this one of the Ring Nebula’s true shape. Source: Flickr


Arizona State’s Krauss cautioned that the light-wave pattern might not be a sign of inflation, although he stressed that it’s “extremely likely’’ that it is. It’s “our best hope’’ for a direct test of whether the rapid growth spurt happened, he said.

Alan Guth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a creator of the idea of inflation, said the finding already suggests that some ideas about the rapid expansion of the universe can be ruled out.

It had not been clear whether the light-wave pattern would be detectable even if inflation really happened, he said, but luckily “nature is cooperating with us, laying out its cards in a way that we can see them.’’


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Astrophysics Should Threaten Fundies More Than Biology

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, March 13, 2014 15:57 EDT


You can click the link to see the original clip. If this was intentional and not a mistake, so many questions arise, starting with, “Well, how will they deal with the next episode?” You know, the one he was talking about that’s coming up next, where the history of human evolution promises to be dealt with at length? Or why was this particular 15 seconds more offensive to fundamentalist sensibilities than the entire segment leading up to it, which is about the age of the universe, which is just as lethal a scientific theory to the biblical understanding of humanity as the theory of evolution is.


Not that this contradiction suggests anything, really, about whether this was an accident or deliberate. One of the things I find most peculiar about the creationist movement is they focus so much on attacking biologists when, if you really think about it, astrophysics has come up with ideas that are far more destabilizing to religious ideas about where we come from and what the relationship between humanity and God is like. In fact, one of the biggest segments of the show, the story of Giordano Bruno, was about precisely that: The Spanish Inquisition was deeply threatened by his idea that the stars are other suns with other planets and that the universe is vast and perhaps infinite, as well they should have been. They correctly surmised that it is pretty hard to believe in a special purpose for human beings in a universe that big, when we’re so small in it. It just doesn’t make sense. Why would God created billions of stars and give each of them their own solar system of planets, all for the purpose of making a bunch of hairless primates with large brains on one single solitary planet worship him?

When you think about it that way, evolution is much easier to reconcile to religion. It makes somewhat more sense that God would have humans evolve out of other creatures on this single planet than he would make billions of stars and planets—and perhaps even other universes—for no reason at all. At least evolution could be reframed as purposeful in some sense. Our relative smallness compared to the universe, however, is impossible to reconcile.

And yet creationists have latched onto evolution. There are some attempts to challenge astrophysics and geology, which also uphold the theory of a very old Earth and very old universe, but most of the efforts are focused on evolution. Charles Darwin is a villain in fundamentalist circles, but the scientists who helped develop these other theories are mostly ignored. (Hey, I don’t know their names, either!) Even the Discovery Institute’s newsletter is called Evolution News and Views.

Interestingly, they lambasted Cosmos for the Bruno segment, and it showed the disjointed, illogical thinking that characterizes the fundamentalist approach to science. They don’t want to be seen as anti-science, but they still found the segment offensive, understanding, correctly, that it was there to highlight the dangers attendant when religion tries to stifle scientific ideas that may threaten its dogma. The correct reaction to this provocation, of course, would have been to pretend that it has nothing to do with them. After all, their “official” stance is that they question the science of evolution, and therefore they should be equally outraged as any other viewer that this man was persecuted and martyred for floating a theory—that the universe is huge—that they themselves do not dispute.  Instead, they threw a fit and tossed out a pointless red herring, whining that it was unfair to use Bruno’s story because he was burned for religious heresy and not because he was a scientist. But that’s something deGrasse Tyson points out in the show. The official designation of Bruno isn’t the issue—the fact that he was punished for asking hard questions the church found threatening is. If they were smart, the Discovery Institute would applaud Cosmos for telling this story, reiterate how much they value the importance of asking hard questions (even if those questions trouble religion), and reiterate their obviously false claim that their criticisms of evolutionary theory are scientific in nature and not the result of dogmatists refusing to accept science. That they couldn’t do that and instead chose to quibble is very telling.

But that really shows how small-minded, even on their own terms, creationists are. They can’t conceive of doing anything more than creating a little sideshow or floating a few, narrow criticisms and hoping you don’t notice that they can’t even handle the overwhelming amount of scientific information pouring in from all sorts of fields that shows their religious beliefs simply can’t be true.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.


The ever changing landscape of science.


Let me begin by saying that, yes I am taking another shot at religion by posting yet more scientific facts as to which the faithful are unaware. I say this because when the idiot Kirk Cameron can go on CNN disparaging Evolution through the bullshit ‘Crocoduck’ explanation, then religious people are more ignorant than once thought. Here is an actor, a person who has had many roles in many films and TV series, exposed to a more diverse population than most of us and still he is obviously too ignorant to accept the reality of science! 

The transitional fossil records have been embedded in the study of Paleontology now for decades and are not a mystery to those who study the evidence based science available to anyone on the internet. All it takes is a Google search to reveal hundreds of transitional fossils. Instead, Creationists, approach the average joe on the street and ask them if they know of any transitional fossils. Now as I have said before, with the current state of education in this country, I’m surprised that the dunces illustrated in these videos even know their own names, let alone anything having to do with science. This is a failing of parents who let this travesty occur by not assisting with learning at home and plays right into the hands of the ignorant drooling masses who are deluded enough to believe that the great Sky Fairie created the universe in six fucking days! 

Second here, let me also state that I regard ‘faith’ as the ultimate cop-out when one does not have the answers to the question at hand. It is actually a very cowardly way out of doing research that will come up with a sane sensible answer. This would require guts and ambition, most of which the religious lack. Now I only speak of the truly religious, not the posers when I say that, because as we well know about 40% of the people that say they believe in God don’t even know what the Bible says and they would laugh in the face of a person who had claimed to have just seen Jesus Christ in the flesh. Careful churches, half of your people are only a smidge away from claiming agnosticism! This of course excludes those religions where they blow people up or self immolate, THOSE motherfuckers are CLEARLY just fucking insane! Getting back to faith, lets just say that if you don’t wish to learn, just claim faith.Please do not mention folks like the inventor of the MRI, how such a brilliant mind can subscribe to such bullshit as Young Earth Creationism is beyond me and most other sane people. I guess mental illness can breed genius as well.

Next on the agenda, I will give just a little info on the whole morality thing that the religious are always beating us over the head with. That’s the big head and not the little head, come on now this isn’t Catholicism. Why don’t we just go around raping chickens and debauching Cocker Fucking Spaniels or something? Could it be, for the love of Christ,(or not), that morality is innate? Could the difference between right and wrong actually be built into our tiny little pea brains? Pea brains…ha! String theory pun! According to infant psychologists at the Yale psychology department, a ground breaking study is about to confirm that morality is in fact innate! Whoa! I’m about to pee myself in ‘I fucking told you so’s!’ Science win folks! Sorry, but ya gotta get over this fairy tale mentality and realize that Yaweh’s about to hit the dustbin as overwhelming proof disproves ‘His’ barbaric existence! The master of drunken genocide and mass murder of infants is about to lose ALL credibility and rightly so! I’ll bet if ol’ Job was here he’d gladly pound the first nail in the celestial coffin! That’s for the goddamned boils you spectral fuck!! I must say that some of the most outstandingly moral people I have ever known have been atheists and agnostics, and after all, what is an agnostic? An up and coming ATHEIST!

Let us go now to that bone of religious contention, the human eye. Religious people claim that to have such a complex camera eye to exist would take the stroke of a master creator, a veritable Van Fucking Gogh in heaven. I disagree, of course, based upon millions of hours of scientific research that proves the evolution of the human AND animal eye. Yes, I do believe that we are higher primates AND animals, but for the article I will separate humans and animals for better clarity. The human eye is an amazingly complicated organ, a camera of sorts, that is able to focus light and convert it to an electrical signal that our highly evolved brain translates to images. The retina detects the light and processes it through the millions of specialized neurons creating the wonderful spectrum of pictures that we see every second of every waking hour. The intricacies of the human eye have long been an arguing point for creationists as a prime example of what they call irreducible complexity.This is the supposition that a system that cannot function in the absence of any of its components cannot have evolved naturally from a more primitive form. Darwin himself relied on the supposition that an explanation would be found in the future to explain the evolution of the eye and annotated this in his book On the Origin of Species in 1859. As most reputable scientists do, he was able to use the phrase ‘I don’t know, but we will eventually find out,’ as an answer instead of saying that the Sky Fairie did it. Scientist from Darwin’s time on have made significant advances in explaining the evolution of the vertebrate eye and as we know, this has taken place over approximately 100 million years, not six fucking thousand! This took shape with the visual apparatus being a simple light sensor for daily rhythms around 600 million years ago and progressing to a sophisticated camera eye around 500 million years ago.Between then and now the more complex aspects of the eye developed into the visual sensor of the higher primate. Provable science has demonstrated over time that our camera-style eye has surprisingly ancient roots and as we continue to explore its origins, more in depth answers appear, and the history goes farther and farther back. The fallacy of New Earth creationism is so entirely apparent in these findings that it sometimes surprises me that they can still find people so incredibly obtuse as to believe in that complete shit.

To the creationists and believers in intelligent design, I must say that the evidence is there, you just need to look beyond your crippling fear of the dark to understand it. I am well aware that if the lights went out all over the world the people would renew dancing around the campfire worshiping any deity that they thought would save them. Fuck banding together and figuring out the problem, most would go to murdering their brother for any supplies that he had. This includes the Christians, we already know that the Muslims do this because they don;t even need the lights to go out to commit mass murder, they just need a sect to adhere to a different form of their own barbaric religion for that. No, the pious are usually the least moral in these circumstances. That aside, if evidence and logic were respected everywhere, the world would be a more civilized place, but most would rather vote for their favorite American Idol rather than expand their mind with scientific text. Oh, and don’t bother with the Bible unless you are reading to find out why people are stupid enough to believe in it. The only thing that it is good for is as rolling paper for those shitty smelling cigarettes that bums enjoy! Arm yourself against Christians, read the one book that most of them NEVER read. Believe in it and you will lose vast amounts of I.Q points.

In closing, please use this information to stimulate your need to inform yourself further with some of the millions of scientific articles on the net, and throw your bible into the fireplace where it will actually serve a purpose. Peace be upon you readers!