MIT Researchers Measure the Quantum Universe –“From the Planck Scale to Life”

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“We know that very small things act quantum, but then big things like you and me don’t act very quantum,” says William Burton,  with the  MIT  physics department. “So we can see how far apart we can stretch a quantum system and still have it act coherently when we bring it back together.”


“Hidden Mass” of the Universe Has Decreased Since Big Bang –“May Still Be Disintegrating”




Astronomers first suspected that there was a large proportion of “hidden mass” in the Universe back in the 1930s, when Fritz Zwicky discovered “peculiarities” in a cluster of galaxies in the constellation Coma Berenices – the galaxies moved as if they were under the effect of gravity from an unseen source. This hidden mass that does not manifest itself in any way, except for a gravitational effect, was given the name dark matter. According to data from the Planck space telescope, the proportion of dark matter in the Universe is 26.8%, the rest is “ordinary” matter (4.9%) and dark energy (68.3%).


Today’s “Galaxy” Stream: Saturn’s Titan –“May Mirror the Origins of Life Throughout the Universe” (VIEW)




"Titan is just covered in carbon-bearing material — it's a giant factory of organic chemicals," according to Ralph Lorenz of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. "We are carbon-based life, and understanding how far along the chain of complexity towards life that chemistry can go in an environment like Titan will be important in understanding the origins of life throughout the universe."


NASA’s Kepler Mission Rewrites Drake’s Equation –“Humans Not the First Technological Civilization in the Universe”




“The question of whether advanced civilizations exist elsewhere in the universe has always been vexed with three large uncertainties in the Drake equation,” said Adam Frank, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester. “We’ve known for a long time approximately how many stars exist. We didn’t know how many of those stars had planets that could potentially harbor life, how often life might evolve and lead to intelligent beings, and how long any civilizations might last before becoming extinct.”


Today’s “Galaxy” Stream –Dark Matter and Dinosaurs (VIEW)




If the solar system, as it orbited the center of the galaxy, were to move through the Milky Way's dark-matter disk, Lisa Randall (Warped Passages, Knocking on Heaven's Door), one of our most influential theoretical physicists, suggests that the gravitational effects from the dark matter might be enough to dislodge comets and other objects from what’s known as the Oort Cloud and send them hurtling toward Earth.



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