Theoretical Physicist: Gravity Is an Illusion

Personal coat of arms of Sir Isaac Newton Gera...
Coat of arms of Sir Isaac Newton
A Scientist Takes On Gravity: “Dr. Verlinde’s argument turns on something you could call the “bad hair day” theory of gravity.

It goes something like this: your hair frizzles in the heat and humidity, because there are more ways for your hair to be curled than to be straight, and nature likes options. So it takes a force to pull hair straight and eliminate nature’s options. Forget curved space or the spooky attraction at a distance described by Isaac Newton’s equations well enough to let us navigate the rings of Saturn, the force we call gravity is simply a byproduct of nature’s propensity to maximize disorder.

Some of the best physicists in the world say they don’t understand Dr. Verlinde’s paper, and many are outright skeptical. But some of those very same physicists say he has provided a fresh perspective on some of the deepest questions in science, namely why space, time and gravity exist at all — even if he has not yet answered them.”  (New York Times).

Team creates biggest quantum object by factor of billions

Wave functions of the first five atomic orbita...

‘Researchers have created a “quantum state” in the largest object yet.

Such states, in which an object is effectively in two places at once, have until now only been accomplished with single particles, atoms and molecules.

In this experiment, published in the journal Nature, scientists produced a quantum state in an object billions of times larger than previous tests.’ (BBC)

Is the Large Hadron Collider Jinxed by its own Future?

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“Forget the far-fetched belief that it will create a black hole, two distinguished physicists have gone even further claiming nature itself is stopping the troubled £4.4billion project from getting off the ground.” (Telegraph.UK)

The pair of theoretical physicists say that the Higgs boson, the postulated ‘God particle’ the LHC is supposed to discover, could ripple back in time from a future in which it exists and stop its own creation by interfering with the operation of the troubled particle accelerator, which is just about to come back online after its initial operation was beset by malfunction.

Periodic table gets a new element


“The ubiquitous periodic table will soon have a new addition – the “super-heavy” element 112.

More than a decade after experiments first produced a single atom of the element, a team of German scientists has been credited with its discovery.”

Only four atoms of the element have been created to date.

“IUPAC temporarily named the element ununbium, as “ununbi” is derived from the figures “one one two” in Latin; but Professor Hofmann’s team now has the task of proposing its official name.” (BBC )

Particles Larger Than Galaxies Fill the Universe?

Observation of a neutrino hitting a proton in ...

‘The oldest of the subatomic particles called neutrinos might each encompass a space larger than thousands of galaxies, new simulations suggest.

Neutrinos as we know them today are created by nuclear reactions or radioactive decay.

According to quantum mechanics, the “size” of a particle such as a neutrino is defined by a fuzzy range of possible locations. We can only detect these particles when they interact with something such as an atom, which collapses that range into a single point in space and time.

For neutrinos created recently, the ranges they can exist in are very, very small.

But over the roughly 13.7-billion-year lifetime of the cosmos, “relic” neutrinos have been stretched out by the expansion of the universe, enlarging the range in which each neutrino can exist.

“We’re talking maybe up to roughly ten billion light-years” for each neutrino, said study co-author George Fuller of the University of California, San Diego.

“That’s nearly on the order of the size of the observable universe.” ‘ (National Geographic)

A Leap for Teleporting, Between Ions Feet Apart

The Quantum Ranger
The Quantum Ranger


‘…The method is not particularly practical at the moment, because it fails almost all of the time. Only 1 of every 100 million teleportation attempts succeed, requiring 10 minutes to transfer one bit of quantum information.

“We need to work on that,” Dr. Monroe said.’ via NYTimes [thanks, abby].

Five Physics Lessons for Obama

Chandra X-ray image of the supernovas remnant ...

“Everyone expects the U.S. president to know the difference between Sunni and Shiite, or understand the causes of the financial meltdown. But in today’s high-tech world, many critical issues have more to do with electrons than economics. Here are five short physics lessons for President-elect Obama from the author of Physics for Future Presidents.”

via Foreign Policy