Mysterious Q Balls -Created in the Heat of the Newborn Universe: Are They SciFi or SciFact?

2882776390103329676S600x600Q85 Q-balls zoom through the Universe, according to CERN physicist Brian Cox, vaporizing stars and flouting the laws of physics. Each one is like a new universe in a nutshell. Inside a Q-ball, the familiar forces that hold our world together don't exist, which means that a single Q-ball can eat the heart out of a super-dense star,causing it to self-destruct in an almighty cosmic explosion.

This was the scientific premise of the scifi thriller, Sunshine, directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, The Beach). That's the fiction. 

The fact is that a Q-ball would travel through a light star like the sun like a bullet through vapor. If a Q-ball drifts into the heart of a super-dense object such as a neutron star, however, it could begin to eat away at it's core like a cancer, until the star is no longer massive enough to maintain itself and explodes in a violent explosion. Such explosions, known as gamma ray bursts, are seen in the Universe, although their cause is as yet unknown.

No one has ever seen one of these oddballs coined some 20 years ago by Sidney Coleman, a physicist at Harvard University. But a leading theory of particle physics predicts that they were created in the heat of the newborn Universe-and that they may still be common today. Finding Q-ball footprints would resolve a host of cosmic mysteries, including the nature of much of the dark matter that astronomers are convinced pervades the Universe, and perhaps the origin of the brilliant but unpredictable gamma-ray bursts.

If heavy Q-balls did form in the early Universe, they would still be around today. In that case, they could make up at least some of the unidentified dark matter that loiters around galaxies all over the Universe. We know this dark matter is there because its gravity distorts the paths of visible stars and galaxies.

The moment of truth may not be far away. The most powerful accelerator ever, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), may provide the answer. If there are sightings of supersymmetry mirror particles in the debris of collisions, the case for Q-balls-ancient or still living-will be much more compelling. And the nutshell universes in which nature's laws break down will be science fact, rather than science fiction. In short, don't throw away your sunscreen. 

Casey Kazan.

Source Link Article by Brian Cox CERN Physicists and Sunshine Consultant


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