Space-time more like Einsteinian whiskey than foamy beer
Washington: Space-time may be less like foamy quantum beer and more like smooth Einsteinian whiskey, according to a physicist.
Robert Nemiroff of Michigan Technological University and his team reached this heady conclusion after studying the tracings of three photons of differing wavelengths recorded by NASA`s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope in May 2009.
The photons originated about 7 billion light-years away from Earth from a gamma-ray burst and arrived at the orbiting telescope a mere millisecond apart.
"Gamma-ray bursts can tell us some very interesting things about the universe," Nemiroff said.
In this case, those three photons recorded by the Fermi telescope may be validating Albert Einstein`s view of smooth space-time into the realm of quantum mechanics. In other words, space-time may not be as foamy as some scientists think.
In his General Theory of Relativity, Einstein described space and time as smooth, deforming only under the weight of matter and energy.
But according to some theories of quantum gravity, which deal with matter and energy at the smallest scale, space-time is made up of a froth of particles and possibly even black holes that pop in and out of existence over infinitesimally small moments at the so-called Planck-length scale, which is less than a trillionth of a trillionth the diameter of a hydrogen atom.
The "bubbles" in this foam-should they exist-are so small as to be almost undetectable. However, scientists have theorized that photons from gamma-ray bursts should be able to track down the bubbles` signature.
Here`s why. The wavelengths of gamma-ray burst photons are some of the shortest distances known to science-so short they should interact with the even smaller bubbles of quantum foam. And if they interact, the photons should be dispersed-scattered-on their trek through frothy space-time.
In particular, they should disperse in different ways if their wavelengths differ, as in the case of Nemiroff`s three photons. Imagine a Ping Pong ball, a bowling ball, and a softball taking alternate paths down a gravely hillside.
Furthermore, few things can delay gamma-ray photons like these, so they might travel for unimaginably long distances unimpeded. You wouldn`t notice the scattering over short distances, but across 7 billion light-years, the quantum foam might knock the light around enough to notice. And three photons from the same gamma-ray burst might not have crashed through the Fermi telescope in a dead heat.
Bolstered by the evidence garnered from the three photons, Nemiroff`s analysis supports earlier indications but takes them clearly below the Planck length.
"If foaminess exists at all, we think it must be at a scale far smaller than the Planck length, indicating that other physics might be involved," he said.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Rajasthan: Gujjars revive reservation agitation, block rail track
- J Jayalalithaa sworn-in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
- Dr Subhash Chandra Show: Aspiring for more than what you have!
- ISIS to buy first nuclear weapon from Pak?
- Mumbai: CCTV captures assailant with gun at Film City
- Mathura SSP receives death threat letter, message for PM Modi
- BJP now central pole of Indian politics: Arun Jaitley
- Maharashtra FDA sends Maggi noodles for lab testing
- Watch: Fast N Facts @ 7:30pm
- Reservation issue: Police register case against Bainsla, 20 others
- Haridwar: Hotel Radisson Blu sealed for polluting Ganga
- Zee Media exclusive chat with 'Welcome to Karachi' cast
- Delhi: Two killed in road accident in New Ashok Nagar
- Girl in Punjab's Pathankot quit studies for fear of eve-teasing
- Zee Media exclusive interview with Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar
- Goa Board SSC Exam Results 2015 announced
- ISIS close to buying nuclear weapon from Pakistan?
- Manohar Parrikar visits forward areas along LoC, reviews security situation
- Credibility of Prime Minister's Office restored by BJP, says Arun Jaitley
- ISIS justifies raping slave girls, says Michelle Obama is 'worth $40'
- IPL 2015 Final: Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings - Preview
- 'Unhappy' Celina Jaitley asks Sunny Leone to move out?
- Arvind Kejriwal to highlight AAP govt's 100 days work on Monday
- CBSE Results 2015: 10th board exam results to be declared on May 27
- BJP's plan for one-year celebration: 200 big rallies, 5,000 public meetings
- IPL 8 Final: We need to be at our best against Mumbai, says Michael Hussey
- Heatwave leaves 153 dead in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh
- IPL 2015 Final: MI vs CSK - As it happened...
- Heatwave kills 223 in AP, Telangana, Chandrababu Naidu announces compensation; Delhi records hottest day
- 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' starts on a good note at the Box Office!