Researchers could herald a new era in fundamental physics

Cardiff University researchers who are part of a British-German team searching the depths of space to study gravitational waves, may have stumbled on one of the most important discoveries in physics according to an American physicist.

Craig Hogan, a physicist at Fermilab Centre for Particle Astrophysics in Illinois is convinced that he has found proof in the data of the gravitational wave detector GEO600 of a holographic Universe - and that his ideas could explain mysterious noise in the detector data that has not been explained so far.

The British-German team behind the GEO600, which includes scientists from the School of Physics and Astronomy's Gravitational Physics Group, will now carry out new experiments in the coming months to yield more evidence about Craig Hogan's assumptions. If proved correct, it could help in the quest to bring together quantum mechanics and Einstein's theory of gravity.

In order to test the theory of holographic noise, the frequency of GEO600´s maximum sensitivity will be shifted towards ever higher frequencies. The frequency of maximum sensitivity is the tone that the detector can hear best. It is normally adjusted to offer the best chance for hearing exploding stars or merging black holes.

Even if it turns out that the mysterious noise is the same at high frequencies as at the lower ones, this will not constitute proof for Hogan's hypothesis. It would, however, provide a strong motivation for further study. The sensitivity of GEO600 will then be significantly improved by using 'squeezed vacuum' and by the installation of a mode filter in a new vacuum chamber. The technology of 'squeezed vacuum' was particularly refined in Hannover and would be used in a gravitational wave detector for the first time.

Professor Jim Hough of Glasgow University, one of the pioneer developers of gravitational wave detectors, says: 'Craig Hogan made a very interesting prediction. It may be the first of a number of unexpected possibilities to be investigated as gravitational wave detectors become more sensitive.'

Professor Bernard Schutz, Professor at the School of Physics and Astronomy, member of the Gravitational Physics Group at the School, and recently elected as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society said: "It would be truly remarkable if GEO600 is sensitive to the quantum nature of space and time. The only way to confirm that would be to carry out controlled experiments, the results of which can be solely attributed to holographic noise. Such an experiment would herald a new era in fundamental physics".

Proffessor Dr. Karsten Danzmann, director of the Hannover Albert-Einstein-Institute, said: "We are very eager to find out what we can learn about the possible holographic noise over the course of the coming year. GEO600 is the only experiment in the world able to test this controversial theory at this time. Unlike the other large laser interferometers, GEO600 reacts particularly sensitively to lateral movement of the beam splitter because it is constructed using the principle of signal recycling. Normally this is inconvenient, but we need the signal recycling to compensate for the shorter arm lengths compared to other detectors. The holographic noise, however, produces exactly such a lateral signal and so the disadvantage becomes an advantage in this case. You could say that this has placed us in the very centre of a tornado in fundamental research!

Searching for the graininess of space

The smallest possible fraction of distance is called the 'Planck length" by physicists. Its value is 1.6 x 10-35 m - this is impossible to measure by itself. The established physical theories cease to function at this scale. GEO600 scientists are testing a theory by US physicist Craig Hogan, who is convinced he can hear the noise of space quanta in the data of the gravitational wave detector GEO600. Hogan suggests that the mirrors in an interferometer wander relative to one another in very rapid steps of the tiny Planck amount, that accumulate during the time of a measurement into something as large as a gravitational wave would produce. Hogan and the GEO600 scientists are following up the question whether a certain 'noise signal' in the data recorded by the detector can be traced back to the graininess of space and time.

Source: Cardiff University

Citation: Researchers could herald a new era in fundamental physics (2009, February 3) retrieved 15 October 2019 from
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Feb 03, 2009
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Feb 04, 2009
Um, IIRC, sound waves travel a lot further deep under water than near the surface...

Which is why some whales sing in the depths, why downed aviators may drop 'poppers' into the sound-channel, and why formerly-secret sea-bed mics could triangulate eg USS Thresher and Scorpion loss from many hundreds of miles away. Tsunamis, of course, are in a different league...

Feb 04, 2009
You AWT people wont detetct the GWs you have somethiung wrong with you. You theory makes no cnets and it is corrupt and unreliable

Feb 04, 2009
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Feb 05, 2009
Do you mean a cargo cult or some real one? Till now I never met nobody, who would promote it except myself. So I'm still after three years the only one real proponent of it. AWT is still one man show.

AWT has one advantage, and one disadvantage. The advantage is, everything in it has its own logical explanation, 'cause it doesn't use abstract postulates and ad-hoced concepts. The disadvantage is, it enables to detect easily, whether you're understanding the subject or not. If you have no analogy for explanation prepared, no hiding behind complexity of math equations won't help you here, because this theory is singular by its very nature and every math model can only approximate it.

From this reasons the AWT is obstinately ignored both by common cranks, both by scientists. For cranks and believers is too logical and materialistic idea, for scientists is too non formal hypothesis. Because people tends to mysticism and platonism naturally, both scientists, both philosophers rather talking about topology, holography and emergence, then just about such down-to-earth things, like the particle concept.

Feb 09, 2009
The water surface model has an interesting consequence for gravitational waves understanding. By AWT gravitational waves should spread by at least 10E 10 times faster, then the light waves. It would made our Universe considerably smaller and comparable to human or CMB scale (1.7 cm).

Accordingly, their distance dependence should by much stronger, then at the case of light. In fact, it should correspond Casimir force, which is reciprocal to fifth power of distance. It would mean, gravitational waves would spread in six dimensions with compare to light waves. A weak portion could spread at longer distances by the same way, like sound through underwaver along density gradients of dark matter. Are all these deductions too fantastics? We'll see..

Feb 11, 2009
If I understood holographic principle well, it relies on model of energy wave projection into interior of black hole through undulations of its event horizon. It could appear like lost of information, but it's not, because event horizon of black holes is quite thick and fuzzy - it appear thin only from outside perspective.

This model is consistent with black hole model of observable of Universe and it requires the superluminal speed of gravity waves to be working by the same way, like AWT - so I have no principal problem with it. The gravitational waves could make our Universe pretty tiny in fact.

The conceptual problem rather is, why we should be formed by some projection - particle model of black hole itself can explain the formation of complex systems composed of nested density fluctuation inside it. After all, we can say as well, we are affecting the surface of black hole, which we are living in - energy waves can be projected in both directions here. We should focus to holograph, i.e. the "device" - not the hologram principle here.

So that question remains, what the holographic principle should be good for. After all, it may predict noise formation by the same way, like the observation of interference pattern formed by coherent gravitational waves, if we would observe them in GEO600. For me holographic principle is still too much abstract and elastic to be able to predict something testable.

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