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Quantum steps towards the Big Bang
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft ^ | 9/2/13

Posted on 09/03/2013 5:19:44 PM PDT by LibWhacker

A new approach to the unification of general theory of relativity and quantum theory

Present-day physics cannot describe what happened in the Big Bang. Quantum theory and the theory of relativity fail in this almost infinitely dense and hot primal state of the universe. Only an all-encompassing theory of quantum gravity which unifies these two fundamental pillars of physics could provide an insight into how the universe began. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Golm/Potsdam and the Perimeter Institute in Canada have made an important discovery along this route. According to their theory, space consists of tiny “building blocks”. Taking this as their starting point, the scientists arrive at one of the most fundamental equations of cosmology, the Friedmann equation, which describes the universe. This shows that quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity really can be unified.

For almost a century, the two major theories of physics have coexisted but have been irreconcilable: while Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity describes gravity and thus the world at large, quantum physics describes the world of atoms and elementary particles. Both theories work extremely well within their own boundaries; however, they break down, as currently formulated, in certain extreme regions, at extremely tiny distances, the so-called Planck scale, for example. Space and time thus have no meaning in black holes or, most notably, during the Big Bang.

Daniele Oriti from the Albert Einstein Institute uses a fluid to illustrate this situation: “We can describe the behaviour of flowing water with the long-known classical theory of hydrodynamics. But if we advance to smaller and smaller scales and eventually come across individual atoms, it no longer applies. Then we need quantum physics.” Just as a liquid consists of atoms, Oriti imagines space to be made up of tiny cells or “atoms of space”, and a new theory is required to describe them: quantum gravity.

Continuous space is broken down into elementary cells

In Einstein’s relativity theory, space is a continuum. Oriti now breaks down this space into tiny elementary cells and applies the principles of quantum physics to them, thus to space itself and to the theory of relativity describing it. This is the unification idea.

A fundamental problem of all approaches to quantum gravity consists in bridging the huge dimensional scales from the space atoms to the dimensions of the universe. This is where Oriti, his colleague Lorenzo Sindoni and Steffen Gielen, a former postdoc at the AEI who is now a researcher at the Perimeter Institute in Canada, have succeeded. Their approach is based on so-called group field theory. This is closely related to loop quantum gravity, which the AEI has been developing for some time.

The task now consisted in describing how the space of the universe evolves from the elementary cells. Staying with the idea of fluids: How can the hydrodynamics for the flowing water be derived from a theory for the atoms?

This extremely demanding mathematical task recently led to a surprising success. “Under special assumptions, space is created from these building blocks, and evolves like an expanding universe,” explains Oriti. “For the first time, we were thus able to derive the Friedmann equation directly as part of our complete theory of the structure of space,” he adds. This fundamental equation, which describes the expanding universe, was derived by the Russian mathematician Alexander Friedman in the 1920s on the basis of the General Theory of Relativity. The scientists have therefore succeeded in bridging the gap from the microworld to the macroworld, and thus from quantum mechanics to the General Theory of Relativity: they show that space emerges as the condensate of these elementary cells and evolves into a universe which resembles our own.

Quantum gravity could now answer questions regarding the Big Bang

Oriti and his colleagues thus see themselves at the start of a difficult but promising journey. Their current solution is valid only for a homogeneous universe - but our real world is much more complex. It contains inhomogeneities, such as planets, stars and galaxies. The physicists are currently working on including them in their theory.

And they have planned something really big as their ultimate goal. On the one hand, they want to investigate whether it is possible to describe space even during the Big Bang. A few years ago, former AEI researcher Martin Bojowald found clues, as part of a simplified version of loop quantum gravity, that time and space can possibly be traced back through the Big Bang. With their theory, Oriti and his colleagues are hoping to confirm or improve this result.

If it continues to prove successful, the researchers could perhaps use it to explain also the assumed inflationary expansion of the universe shortly after the Big Bang as well, and the nature of the mysterious dark energy. This energy field causes the universe to expand at an ever-increasing rate.

Oriti’s colleague Lorenzo Sindoni therefore adds: “We will only be able to really understand the evolution of the universe when we have a theory of quantum gravity.” The AEI researchers are in good company here: Einstein and his successors, who have been searching for this for almost one hundred years.


TOPICS: Astronomy; Science
KEYWORDS: mechanics; quantum; relativity; stringtheory; unification
The scientists have therefore succeeded in bridging the gap from the microworld to the macroworld, and thus from quantum mechanics to the General Theory of Relativity
1 posted on 09/03/2013 5:19:44 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker
But can they do the math? Conceptual and descriptive models are powerful heuristics and empirical results are the coin of the realm, but in the end, even Einstein had to have the help of professional mathematicians to work out the abstruse mathematical basis of his theories.

So I always wonder, where are the numbers guys, who live far beyond mortal ken?

2 posted on 09/03/2013 5:27:49 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: LibWhacker

That wAs easy. Now can we have an explanation of the proposed invasion of Syr?


3 posted on 09/03/2013 5:28:37 PM PDT by faithhopecharity (E)
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To: LibWhacker

mentos (or rather the chemical makeup) and bicarbonate soda = quantum gravity expulsion (imho)


4 posted on 09/03/2013 5:28:45 PM PDT by no-to-illegals (Scrutinize our government and Secure the Blessing of Freedom and Justice)
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To: LibWhacker

I like it. It makes sense.


5 posted on 09/03/2013 5:30:42 PM PDT by bigheadfred (INFIDEL)
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To: LibWhacker

Einstein’s original “Theory of Relativity” went like this:

“Everyone has relatives”!

(except perhaps for Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, test-tube creations from primordel slime).


6 posted on 09/03/2013 5:33:15 PM PDT by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: hinckley buzzard

They did the math.


7 posted on 09/03/2013 5:33:29 PM PDT by bigheadfred (INFIDEL)
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To: LibWhacker

MGaye theorem, ‘everything is everything’.


8 posted on 09/03/2013 5:34:48 PM PDT by heights
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To: 6SJ7; AdmSmith; AFPhys; Arkinsaw; allmost; aristotleman; autumnraine; backwoods-engineer; ...

Thanks LibWhacker.

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9 posted on 09/03/2013 5:35:06 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's no coincidence that some "conservatives" echo the hard left.)
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To: LibWhacker

Still ignoring the biggest source of energy in the universe, in order to pretend that one of the weakest did the job.

Order up a bunch of imaginary dark matter folks.


10 posted on 09/03/2013 5:36:57 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: LibWhacker
Scissors cuts paper,
paper covers rock,
rock crushes lizard,
lizard poisons Spock,
Spock smashes scissors,
scissors decapitates lizard,
lizard eats paper,
paper disproves Spock,
Spock vaporizes rock,
and as it always has, rock crushes scissors.
11 posted on 09/03/2013 5:37:11 PM PDT by Dubh_Ghlase (Therefore, send not to know For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.)
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To: Dubh_Ghlase

I’m not crazy. My mother had me tested.


12 posted on 09/03/2013 5:39:13 PM PDT by goodwithagun (My gun has killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy's car.)
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To: bigheadfred; Alamo-Girl; betty boop

Well of course it does. If we assume that God manifested dimension space and dimension time from the simplest expression to the more complex, point becomes linear, becomes planar, becomes volume. Moment becomes linear and we sense that linear as past —we look back along a time line—then linear becomes planar and we sense that expression as present then planar becomes volumetric and we imagine that as future. every thing and every event inside spacetime as God created it has some expression of dimension space and some expression of dimension time. As the Universe exists,Time is a volume entertwined with the volume of Space.


13 posted on 09/03/2013 5:39:15 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: hinckley buzzard

When something doesn’t work, just add in something imaginary and carry on; pass go; collect grant funds.

Return to step one.


14 posted on 09/03/2013 5:41:22 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Freepers: Not as smart as I'd hoped they'd be)
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To: LibWhacker

SO.... these tiny cells perform cohesively. Larger structures are made of these tiny cells. Those larger structures are confined somehow into even larger structures and that is all contained within some super-super structure.

Sounds a lot like the constituency of ‘matter’, including our bodies.

Pot smokers who thought that we were just bacteria on a cell that made up an organ that was with other organs inside a larger structure that kept them ‘together’... just might have been right.


15 posted on 09/03/2013 5:42:37 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (The monsters are due on Maple Street)
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To: MHGinTN

Correct. And in our limited way it can be explained in our limited way.


16 posted on 09/03/2013 5:47:07 PM PDT by bigheadfred (INFIDEL)
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To: goodwithagun

...but your mother loves you...


17 posted on 09/03/2013 5:48:40 PM PDT by bigheadfred (INFIDEL)
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To: LibWhacker
Oriti and his colleagues thus see themselves at the start of a difficult but promising journey. Their current solution is valid only for a homogeneous universe - but our real world is much more complex. It contains inhomogeneities, such as planets, stars and galaxies.

They've hit a brick wall so it's time to do a press release.

18 posted on 09/03/2013 5:51:43 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: editor-surveyor

When something doesn’t work, just add in something imaginary and carry on; pass go; collect grant funds.


I sometimes wonder if all these theoretical physicists working on the BBT don’t laugh their a$$ off and high five each other when they think no one else is looking.


19 posted on 09/03/2013 6:05:40 PM PDT by rbg81
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To: LibWhacker
If it continues to prove successful, the researchers could perhaps use it to explain also the assumed inflationary expansion of the universe shortly after the Big Bang as well, and the nature of the mysterious dark energy.

And why a slice of toast when dropped always lands buttered side down.

20 posted on 09/03/2013 6:18:43 PM PDT by MIchaelTArchangel (Have a wonderful day!)
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To: LibWhacker
If it continues to prove successful, the researchers could perhaps use it to explain also the assumed inflationary expansion of the universe shortly after the Big Bang as well, and the nature of the mysterious dark energy.

And why a slice of toast when dropped always lands buttered side down.

21 posted on 09/03/2013 6:18:44 PM PDT by MIchaelTArchangel (Have a wonderful day!)
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To: LibWhacker

Go to youtube.com Do a search on “The big bang never happenend” and/or “Halton Arp”


22 posted on 09/03/2013 6:29:44 PM PDT by preacher (Communism has only killed 100 million people: Let's give it another chance!)
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To: LibWhacker

According to Krauss and Dawkins, this was settled years ago.


23 posted on 09/03/2013 6:56:48 PM PDT by JusPasenThru (Posting here = IRS audit.)
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To: goodwithagun

Me too! What a coincidence!


24 posted on 09/03/2013 7:40:55 PM PDT by Dubh_Ghlase (Therefore, send not to know For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.)
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To: SunkenCiv

I LOVE these articles!
Thanks SC and keep em’ coming.


25 posted on 09/03/2013 7:51:01 PM PDT by Bullish (Psalm 46)
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To: LibWhacker
Quantum Gravity: The latest effort to harmonize or unify the two most important, yet incompatible, theories of physics. These two "Master" Theories are Einstein's Theory (General) Relativity, and Quantum Theory as developed by a host of 20th-century physicists. The first-mentioned theory accounts for all the very large things in the Universe, like planets, stars, and galaxies, while the second theory is meant to account for all the very tiny things in the world, such as: molecules, atoms, electrons, neutrons, baryons, hadrons, etcetera, etcetera, right on down to quarks, with all their Charm and Beauty (a little inside humor there). Logically, there are just three ways that physicists can proceed: 1) Form a theory which describes the micro-world from a Relativistic -instead of a Quantum- perspective, or: 2) Form a theory which describes the Mega-world from Quantum -instead of a Relativistic- perspective, or: 3) form a yet-to-be-named theory which describes a unified view of the entire universe, from left to right, up to down, past to future, and mega to micro. This third theory would be neither Relativistic nor Quantum in nature, but would nevertheless be shown to mathematically lead to either a Relativistic or Quantum view, depending on the scale or perspective one chooses. Despite what this press-release implies, physicists are both currently and heavily doing research along all three possible lines of research that I have just outlined.
26 posted on 09/04/2013 7:44:32 AM PDT by Trentamj
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To: MHGinTN

Indeed. Thank you for sharing your insights, dear MHGinTN!


27 posted on 09/04/2013 8:11:48 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Bullish

My pleasure, and thanks for the kind remarks — I only pinged this one of course. :’)


28 posted on 09/04/2013 5:06:48 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's no coincidence that some "conservatives" echo the hard left.)
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