antimatter

You might want to strap in your seat belts, because today we are going to tackle the anonymously-requested Giratina, and the theory of the Multiverse.

Giratina resides in the distortion world, which is said to be an alternate dimension or universe opposite the pokémon world.

There’s a popular physical theory, supported by mathematics but not yet experimentally proven, called the Multiverse Theory. This theory states that there are an infinite number of universes where infinite things happen. For example, according to this theory, there could be a universe where World War II never happened, a universe where you wore a different shirt today, or as Stephen Hawking recently stated, “It would not be beyond the realms of possibility that somewhere outside of our own universe lies another different universe. And in that universe, Zayn is still in One Direction.” 

More importantly, one of these universes could be the distortion world.

Let’s talk about some of the possibilities for the multiverse theory:

First of all, we (think) we live in a 3-dimensional universe. Length, width, and height make up three dimensions that we can measure in. But what if there were more dimensions? While nearly impossible to imagine, you can try. Think of a 3-dimensional cube, for example. Every cross section of that cube is a two-dimensional square. Every cross section of the square is a one-dimensional line. Extending this to higher dimensions, every cross-section of a 4-dimensional universe would be a three dimensional one.

Another model of the multiverse deals with Quantum Mechanics. While being one of the scarier branches of physics, quantum mechanics tells us that anything that can happen, will happen. Or, maybe more accurately, anything that can happen does happen. A side effect of this is multiple universes. In our universe, if you eat a sandwich, there are an infinite number of universes where you had a pizza instead, or a hamburger, and even a universe where the sandwich ate you.

Similarly, we know our universe is expanding. From this, physicist have extrapolated that there may be many pockets of space that are independently expanding, creating multiple “bubble” universes.

Another model says that if space is truly infinite, then it must start repeating itself at some point, since there are a limited number of ways to rearrange particles. Each of these repetitions, while practically infinitely apart, would be a parallel universe.

There are many other models out there, but you get the point:

The universe is made of  multiple independent universes. The distortion world is a parallel unvierse to our own.

While Dialga and Palkia correlate to time and space in pokémon lore, Giratina is the guardian of antimatter.

Antimatter was mathematically predicted as early as the 1880s, but wasn’t experimentally confirmed until 1955. Antimatter, whether you know it or not, is created all the time in large particle colliders, in cosmic rays, in lightning strikes, or even, literally, out of nowhere.

Antimatter is identically to the matter we see in our universe, but has a completely opposite charge. Antiprotons have the same mass and size as protons but are negatively charged, antielectrons (also known as positrons) have the same mass and properties as electrons, but are positively charged. Same goes for every particle we know of.

The exciting stuff happens when matter and antimatter meet. If a positron collides with an electron, both of them are completely annihilated in the collision.

Einstein said it better than I ever could: “On the big Bang theory: For every one billion particles of antimatter there were one billion and one particles of matter. And when the mutual annihilation was complete, one billionth remained - and that’s our present universe"

Our world is made of our matter because there was just slightly more matter than antimatter in our universe. The distortion world is the opposite case. The distortion world is made of antimatter.

The “violence” that Giratina was banished for likely wasn’t intentional at all. Instead, the antimatter that Giratina is made of simply annihilated with all of the matter in our universe. Instead of causing destruction, Giratina was banished to a world that is made of the same stuff that he is.

Giratina and the distortion world are made of antimatter. In our world, Giratina was annihilating our matter simply by being near it, so he was banished to a universe made of antimatter.

Coincidentally, this also explains why you’d be able to walk on the walls and ceilings of the distortion world. Since the matter in your body is oppositely charged as antimatter, they naturally attract. This simple electric force would easily overpower gravity, allowing you to walk on walls. 

This doesn’t explain how you don’t instantly die in the distortion world, though. Oh well.

What is Antimatter?

Antimatter sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but it’s very real. It is, however, elusive.

Antimatter particles are subatomic particles with properties opposite those of normal matter particles. So a positron (positively charged) is the antiparticle equivalent of the electron (negatively charged). When a particle and its antiparticle meet, they annihilate (are destroyed), releasing a lot of energy.

Antimatter particles are created in ultra high-speed collisions. There was a lot of it after the Big Bang. But today antimatter is rare.1

How rare is antimatter?  Lawrence Krauss puts it this way:

I like to say that while antimatter may seem strange, it is strange in the sense that Belgians are strange. They are not really strange; it is just that one rarely meets them.2

In the sentences before making that statement, Krauss tells us something interesting about antimatter:

Because antiparticles otherwise have the same properties as particles, a world made of antimatter would behave the same way as a world of matter, with antilovers sitting in anticars making love under an anti-Moon.  It is merely an accident of our circumstances, due, we think, to rather more profound factors…that we live in a universe that is made up of matter and not antimatter or one with equal amounts of both.3

That’s pretty awesome!  You might be wondering then, how can we know that this universe is made of matter and not antimatter?  If they behave the same way, how can we tell the difference?  Antimatter has an opposite charge and quantum spin4; those are the subtle differences that let us know that we live in a universe comprised of matter.  Well, there’s that and the possibility that it falls up.5

1 http://www.space.com/14721-antimatter-spacekids.html

2 Krauss, Lawrence. A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing. 1st ed. New York, NY: Free Press, 2012. 61-62. Print.

3 Krauss, Lawrence. A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing. 1st ed. New York, NY: Free Press, 2012. 61. Print.

4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimatter

5 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430113429.htm

GIF Courtesy: Watch Here

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Why is there any Matter left in the Universe?

Every particle in existence has an antiparticle equivalent, which is almost identical except it carries the opposite electric charge. Matter is composed of normal particles and antimatter is composed of antiparticles—for example, while a proton and an electron form an ordinary hydrogen atom, an antiproton and a positron form an antihydrogen atom. Antimatter is created all the time in high-energy collisions, like when cosmic rays impact Earth’s atmosphere, but it immediately disappears because when matter and antimatter collide, they annihilate in a flash of pure energy. This makes it difficult to study experimentally, and neither can we find any evidence of a significant concentration of antimatter in the wider universe. The universe we know is dominated by ordinary matter—it makes up every person and planet and star—and yet if matter and antimatter were created equally at the birth of the universe, where has all the antimatter gone? This asymmetry is a perplexing question in physics, and several theories have been proposed to explain it. Perhaps nature favours matter reactions over antimatter ones; or perhaps matter and antimatter particles decay differently; or perhaps there are far flung regions composed primarily of antimatter, but they’re just beyond our visible universe. Researchers are currently trying to determine if such regions exist by studying colliding superclusters for high-energy signatures of annihilation, and by studying decay patterns in quarks.

(Image Credit: 1, 2)

This Week in Science - June 24 - 30, 2013:

  • Antimatter gun here.
  • Severed spinal cord repairs here.
  • Ancient horse genome record here.
  • Robotic-chimpanzee here.
  • NIH retiring chimps here.
  • NASA launched IRIS here.
  • Body-heat flashlight here.
  • 500+ million yr. old creature here.
  • Clinical iPS stem-cell trial here.
  • Cloned mouse from blood-drop here.
  • PayPal Galactic launch here.
  • New pulsating star type here.
4

Top 10 Strangest Things in Space

The universe is a weird place. Here’s a look at some of the strangest things in the cosmos.

1. Antimatter

Like Superman’s alter-ego, Bizzaro, the particles making up normal matter also have opposite versions of themselves. An electron has a negative charge, for example, but its antimatter equivalent, the positron, is positive. Matter and antimatter annihilate each other when they collide and their mass is converted into pure energy by Einstein’s equation E=mc2. Some futuristic spacecraft designs incorporate anti-matter engines.

2. Mini-Black Holes

If a radical new “braneworld” theory of gravity is correct, then scattered throughout our solar system are thousands of tiny black holes, each about the size of an atomic nucleus. Unlike their larger brethren, these mini-black holes are primordial leftovers from the Big Bang and affect space-time differently because of their close association with a fifth dimension.

3. Cosmic Microwave Background

Also known as the CMB, this radiation is a primordial leftover from the Big Bang that birthed the universe. It was first detected during the 1960s as a radio noise that seemed to emanate from everywhere in space. The CMB is regarded as one of the best pieces of evidence for the theoretical Big Bang. Recent precise measurements by the WMAP project place the CMB temperature at -455 degrees Fahrenheit (-270 Celsius).

4. Dark Matter

Scientists think it makes up the bulk of matter in the universe, but it can neither be seen nor detected directly using current technologies. Candidates range from light-weight neutrinos to invisible black holes. Some scientists question whether dark matter is even real, and suggest that the mysteries it was conjured to solve could be explained by a better understanding of gravity.

5. Exoplanets

Until about the early 1990s, the only known planets in the universe were the familiar ones in our solar system. Astronomers have since identified more than 500 extrasolar planets (as of November 2010). They range from gargantuan gas worlds whose masses are just shy of being stars to small, rocky ones orbiting dim, red dwarfs. Searches for a second Earth, however, are still ongoing. Astronomers generally believe that better technology is likely to eventually reveal worlds similar to our own.

6. Gravity Waves

Gravity waves are distortions in the fabric of space-time predicted by Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The gravitational waves travel at the speed of light, but they are so weak that scientists expect to detect only those created during colossal cosmic events, such as black hole mergers like the one shown above. LIGO and LISA are two detectors designed to spot the elusive waves.

7. Galactic Cannibalism

Like life on Earth, galaxies can “eat” each other and evolve over time. The Milky Way’s neighbor, Andromeda, is currently dining on one of its satellites. More than a dozen star clusters are scattered throughout Andromeda, the cosmic remains of past meals. The image above is from a simulation of Andromeda and our galaxy colliding, an event that will take place in about 3 billion years.

8. Neutrinos

Neutrinos are electrically neutral, virtually mass-less elementary particles that can pass through miles of lead unhindered. Some are passing through your body as you read this. These “phantom” particles are produced in the inner fires of burning, healthy stars as well as in the supernova explosions of dying stars. Detectors are being embedded underground, beneath the sea, or into a large chunk of ice as part of IceCube, a neutrino-detecting project.

9. Quasars

These bright beacons shine to us from the edges of the visible universe and are reminders to scientists of our universe’s chaotic infancy. Quasars release more energy than hundreds of galaxies combined. The general consensus is that they aremonstrous black holes in the hearts of distant galaxies. This image is of quasar 3C 273, photographed in 1979.

10. Vacuum Energy

Quantum physics tells us that contrary to appearances, empty space is a bubbling brew of “virtual” subatomic particles that are constantly being created and destroyed. The fleeting particles endow every cubic centimeter of space with a certain energy that, according to general relativity, produces an anti-gravitational force that pushes space apart. Nobody knows what’s really causing the accelerated expansion of the universe, however.

A Black Hole Doesn’t Die – It Does Something A Lot Weirder

Black holes are basically “game over, man,” for anything that gets too close to them, but they aren’t invincible. In fact, they’re always in the process of self-destructing. We’ll look at how they fizzle out, and see if we can help them do it faster.

The Event Horizon

Realistically speaking, you are dead as soon as you get anywhere near a black hole. You’ll be snapped like a rubber band by the differences in the gravitational pull on your top and bottom half, or you’ll be fried by radiation (more on that later). No one in the foreseeable future (even if we try to foresee multiple millennia into the future) will get close to a black hole. Pass the event horizon, however, and you don’t even have an unforeseeable future. Once material gets beyond the event horizon, it’s being pulled into the black hole with such force that it doesn’t escape. Not even light gets out. Once something has gone beyond the event horizon, it no longer really “counts” as part of the universe anymore.

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Hawking radiation mimicked in the lab

Sound waves used to imitate light particles predicted to escape black holes.

Scientists have come closer than ever before to creating a laboratory-scale imitation of a black hole that emits Hawking radiation, the particles predicted to escape black holes due to quantum mechanical effects.

The black hole analogue, reported in Nature Physics1, was created by trapping sound waves using an ultra cold fluid. Such objects could one day help resolve the so-called black hole ‘information paradox’ - the question of whether information that falls into a black hole disappears forever.

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Why are we made of matter and not antimatter?

“This is right at the frontiers of what is known, and is my bet for the next of the greatest unsolved problems in theoretical physics to fall. With any luck, we’ll finally be able to explain why there’s more matter than antimatter in our Universe very soon.”

Everywhere we look in the Universe, we find that planets, stars, galaxies, and even the gas between them are all made of matter and not antimatter. Yet as far as we know, the laws of nature are symmetric between matter and antimatter: you can’t create or destroy one without the other. This question — why the Universe is full of matter and not antimatter — is one of the greatest unsolved problems in theoretical physics. Yet it’s also, conceivably, the one most likely to fall in the coming year! There are four compelling scenarios that might solve this question, that of baryogenesis, that theoretical physics has uncovered, and there’s a good chance that the LHC’s run II will be sensitive to two of them.

Also, don’t forget to check out my new podcast on this subject, at the end of the post or (directly) here.

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Warning: Scary Post for Some

Could you imagine if there’s an alternate universe out there somewhere where there’s another you? An evil you perhaps with a twirly moustache?

There are plenty of hypothesis’ arguing for this reality, one of the most popular being string theory.

I need to stop right in the middle of an exciting topic and be real: There’s VERY LITTLE EVIDENCE for this. Even the strongest piece of evidence which I’m about to talk about, isn’t what one would call a “smoking gun”.

Now to go totally against what I just said. If you look at what was being said  back in 2007, and got the opinion on string theory and multiverses from the popular science community, you’d have gotten a sigh and speech on how there’s no evidence for the multiverse.

Not true. There is a single piece of evidence that had been predicted, tested and found to be true. Enter, the Bubble Multiverse.

Think about the big bang. Who’s to say that the big bang could only happen once? If it turns out that something existed before the Big Bang (which of course science presumes so as nothingness is unprovable) who’s to say that in the pre-big bang universe, there couldn’t have been multiple big bangs? This is the idea.

In that pre-big bang cosmos, multiple big bangs could’ve happened. They would all be similarly expanding in space just like ours. This can be imagined like a series of bubbles or balloons growing as air is pumped in. Each bubble would have on it’s spreading surface, a universe. Each could run by different physical laws then ours, perhaps by a small degree and some by a huge amount.

The evidence for this? Astronomers in London have predicted that the eternal expansion of each of these universes would result in some of them eventually colliding with the other and that this would result in visible bruising on the Cosmic Microwave Background, a measure of heat from the time of the Big Bang. They found this bruise. I’m linking an article citing two published scientific papers (peer reviewed) right here if you’re interested in doing the detective work yourself.

It’s pretty important to note that with the sheer size of data contained in the Cosmic Microwave Background it’s possible to extrapolate almost any sort of thing and claim it as evidence of practically anything. Why then do I say this is still legitimate evidence? Because it was predicted, tested and found within the parameters of the only theory we have: string theory. This is for all intents and purposes the only game in town when it comes to a unification of quantum mechanics and general relativity.

So on one hand yes, it’s our best possible conclusion so far that there are multiple universes, but on the other hand, we know full well that it’s based on sparse, tentative and speculative evidence.

Stop here if you don’t want the frightening part.

What would it mean if the Bubble Multiverse is real? This is where shit gets creepy. Most universes would have a set of physical laws and structures that just wouldn’t allow for life to exist in that universe. Every now and then though, you’d get a universe (like ours) that has all the correct ingredients that allow for life to develop. The ratio, keep in mind, would be something ridiculous like one out of every 500,000,000 universes could form life. Point is, not many could support life, but eventually you’d find another that can as there’s no limit to the amount of universes that could exist. When you do find a universe that supports life, we can extrapolate data from our experience. Eventually, somewhere in that universe, it’s feasible that at least one intelligent species would begin. They, like us would eventually learn to develop technology. They, like us, would create something like a video game or computer program a sort of simulated universe. They, like us would get better at it. And better. And better.

They would eventually, extrapolating from the trajectory of our technical advances, create a program with simulated minds, artificial beings that think themselves real and think the games and programs they inhabit are the real world.

Would these intelligent people just create simulated, artificial program? Nope. Just like us, they’d create simulation after simulation after simulation. The ratio of simulated universes per real, inhabitable universes would be like 500,000,000 per real universe. Do the math…

1 life supporting Bubble Universe / 500,000,000 Bubble Universes * 500,000,000 simulated universes / 1 life supporting bubble universes =

1 / 500,000,000 = 0.000000002

500,000,000,000 / 1 = 500,000,000,000

0.000000002 * 500,000,000,000 = 1000

The chance is, given my arbitrarily (and conservative) numbers, 1000/1 that we are not real, that we’re actually currently living in some sort of matrix reality. Wrap your heads around that motherfuckers. For every real (inhabitable) universe, there’s a thousand fake ones. This is the REAL conclusion that our ONLY unified theory of reality (general relativity and quantum mechanics) brings us to.

Is there hope? Yes. When others search for the bruise in the CMB, it’s proven to be inconsistent, undermining the reliability of this evidence. We’re essentially little better off than Square One. It’s still in the air whether or not we all live in the fucking matrix.

Juuuuuuuuuuust kidding!

…LET ME SCARE YOU WAY FUCKING MORE!

In this link you can watch theoretical physicist James Gates talking to Neil DeGrasse Tyson about a funny little discovery he made. Oh you know only that there are bits of computer code embedded in the fabric of the universe.

Sounds pretty crazy and conspiratorial, no? You’re right, howzabout I give you a peer reviewed paper on his findings. A bit complicated? Here’s an article you might find easier to read. So yeah, I guess it’s pretty much time for you to make a pretty important choice… will you take the red pill or the blue?