Another amazing week of news from the Cosmos: from the New York Times’ Carl Zimmer on the origins of life and how it may have evolved on other worlds to the the creeping suspicion, that there is something substantial missing from our standard model of the Universe to Albert Einstein’s demon-haunted quantum world.
The discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 has proved to be a source of rich speculation for particle physicists. In 2019, researchers proposed that three types of very high-energy Higgs Bosons, dubbed the “Higgs Troika”, may have played a role in ridding the infant universe of most of its antimatter. The Higgs boson may also reveal insights into the nature of dark matter and dark energy, the so-called “dark sector” that comprises 95% of the Universe.
“We know empirically that there is about one-billion times more matter than antimatter in the Universe and with the current physics we know, the Standard Model, this imbalance can’t be explained,” wrote MIT physicist Silviu-Marian Udrescu in an email to The Daily Galaxy. “To explain it,” he continues, “a violation of certain fundamental symmetries is required, but we have not observed the required violations yet. We don’t know the sources of this violation. We just know that these violations are required to explain the matter-antimatter asymmetry of the universe.
“The universe resembles a Swiss cheese – but one with huge holes: Large areas in space are absolutely empty. In between, thousands of galaxies crowd in a comparatively small space. These clusters are connected by highways of thin matter gas, like the gossamer filaments of a spider’s web,” reports The University of Bonn about gargantuan filaments in the universe that fueled the formation of clusters of galaxies and galaxies at places where the filaments crossed, creating dense regions of matter –the cheese.
“The Standard Model as it stands cannot possibly be right because it cannot predict why the universe exists,” said Gerald Gabrielse, the Board of Trustees Professor of Physics at Northwestern University, about the theory that describes the seventeen known fundamental particles and their interactions and provides us with a detailed set of predictions for how each of them should behave and interact. The model is a mathematical picture of reality, and no laboratory experiments yet performed have contradicted it. “We should be very careful about making assumptions that we’re getting closer to solving the mystery, but I do have considerable hope that we’re getting closer at this level of precision,” Gabrielse added.
“There are no laws of physics,” observed Robbert Dijkgraaf, mathematical physicist and director of the Institute for Advanced Study, where Einstein spent his last 22 years. Instead, he observes, there is a terrifying complex “landscape” of possibilities, a nearly infinite, subtly connected network of complementary versions of reality each with its own set of fundamental particles, forces, laws and dimensions.”