Feeds

The cooler side of the Big Bang

Can ‘Quantum graphity’ (not gravity) be tested?

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Quantum graphity – not gravity – is a fairly recent and, as far as I can tell, quite obscure angle on cosmology, but some University of Melbourne and RMIT researchers are proposing a test for the theory, and at the same time, proposing a different model for the formation of the universe.

According to the group of theoretical physicists, it’s feasible that rather than an explosive start to the universe, physics should search for a cooling down – a “big freeze” since it’s mandatory to provide an opposite to the big bang – and that evidence of this cosmological condensation could be testable by observation.

“Quantum graphity” arises from papers like this one at Arxiv, which proposes a mathematical model for the universe which tries to resolve the discrepancies between classical and quantum models [author’s warning: what follows is a dangerously abbreviated attempt to summarize in language something that probably needs maths].

One such problem is that it’s hard to demonstrate how characteristics we observe in the current universe like General Relativity actually come into being – to put it more simply, it’s hard to tell how the highly disordered universe immediately after the big bang became a place where General Relativity can exist.

To quote directly from the original Canadian paper by Tomasz Konokpa, Fotini Markopoulou and Lee Smolin:

“In the high temperature, or disordered phase, notions of geometry and perhaps even dimension and topology are useless and the physics must be described in purely quantum mechanical terms. In the low temperature phase, the system becomes ordered in such a way that it can be described in terms of fields living on a low dimensional spacetime manifold with metric obeying Einstein’s equations”.

The point of quantum graphity is an attempt to use geometrical models to try and describe how the phase transition gives rise to the universe – and how the transition might be observed.

Back to the University of Melbourne / RMIT research. To quote from the release: "Think of the early universe as being like a liquid," said lead researcher James Quach. "Then as the universe cools, it 'crystallises' into the three spatial and one time dimension that we see today. Theorised this way, as the Universe cools, we would expect that cracks should form, similar to the way cracks are formed when water freezes into ice."

The large-scale structures of the early universe – which we already know are observable in, for example, the microwave background radiation – could either validate or disprove the quantum graphity model.

Quantum physics specialist Associate Professor Andrew Greentree says if these “condensation structures” (my metaphor) exist, they might be observable acting as lenses that change the path of light or other particles. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.