I’ve been obsessed w/cosmology and theorotical physics since I was too young to know any better. It’s really another way to escape the world for a bit I guess and since I currently feel pretty crappy and am high on pain meds, I’m escaping. There’s some really fascinating stuff going on right now, even without the LHC, which is down thanks to a glitch in the wiring that went sort of catastrophic. Here are a few of my current greatest hits:

Dark Flow: Proof of another universe? is a great article on what appears to be a giant hole in the universe that’s just out of sight, into which everything seems to be falling. There are many theories ranging from a different theory of gravity (it’s suddenly stronger at very large scales), another theory that states that contrary to current thinking, the universe is not uniform, but behaves differently, according to different laws in different areas. There’s also the possibilty that there’s something hugely bizarre just outside the known universe that is attracting everything. The favorite in this article is in favor of a multiverse concept. It’s something outside our universe essentially pulling on ours, which would look like a big gravity hole in ours. The very academic article for that theory is here. Of course, you know that’s my favorite because it’s the most far out. Also, the lead physicist is a woman, Mersini-Houghton. Shoot me. I want to see women in physics.

A bizarre universe may be lurking in the shadows is about dark matter and the current front-runners for the best fit. My favorite is the Kaluza-Klein particles, mainly because they leave us with extra dimensions and everyone likes extra dimensions, right? Right?

Gravity may venture where matter fears to tread over on New Scientist is a sort of potential string /brane theory explanation for that giant hole in the universe everything seems to be sliding toward. This new theory basically states that gravity essentially works differently at diferent scales and it would solve a lot of ‘problems’ where our observations don’t fit any sort of current theory. In a nutshell, our universe is a sort of 3D (mem)brane (w/an additional dimension for time) that sits in another sort of extra-dimensional non-space (with an awesome name: ‘the bulk’). The particles that make us happen love the brane and stick to it. The particles that make gravity happen (gravitrons) are complete unto themselves and therefore are more fickle and tend to flow off the brane into the bulk, which explains why gravity is so weak. Since we’re made of the sticky kind of particles, we can’t see the not-so-sticky particles in the bulk, so even if they’re right next to us, they’re invisible to us and our instruments. But they do LOVE matter and tend to clump around it, making gravity appear larger than it should with no reason apparent/visible to us brane-stuck folk.

And my absolute favorite, Our world may be a giant hologram. I’ve been fascinated by the holographic principle and Beckenstein Bound for years and to see it actually find some ‘ground’ in the cosmic background radiation is like a jump-for-joy moment. Basically, the universe we see is a holographic projection of a 2D world we can’t see or touch. This projection, which is actually a surface appears to us to be 3D . The beckenstein bound is even weirder. While researching black hole radiation, Beckenstein discovered that contrary to common sense, in order to get the total entropy or information content of a black hole you measure the surface area rather than volume. This is basically like saying that in order to discover how much information I contain, you’d measure my surface and nothing ‘inside’, which doesn’t make sense to my monkey brain, but is fascinating. T’hooft and crew took beckenstein’s bound and applied it to the universe. This article is about some unexplained ‘noise’ that happens at high resolutions of the background radiation, which is esssentially the heat left over from the big bang that scientists use to map what the universe looked like before it ‘exploded’ into what we see today. No one knows what to do with this ‘noise’ (some believe it’s noise leaking in from the instruments and/or outside world) but Hogan believes it’s not noise at all but essentially evidence of the ‘pixels’ of the universe. These basic, fundamental ‘puzzle pieces’ of the universe that can be reduced no further. The atoms of timespace. This? Is the shit. This is why I love cosmology and physics. Because that is frickin’ wild!

hmmm, these are all in New Scientist, which really isn’t even one of my fav science mags. For some reason they have the best coverage of this usually under-appreciated neighborhood of science. Saves me the trouble of trawling through journals looking for the interesting stuff.