Physicists at crossroads in trying to understand universe

March 23, 2018 by Todd B. Bates, Rutgers University
This image shows the evolution of the universe from its Big Bang birth (on the left) to the present (on the right), a timespan of nearly 14 billion years. By producing the world’s highest energy collisions, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland acts as a time machine that takes Rutgers physics professors Scott Thomas and Sunil Somalwar all the way back to the first trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. Credit: NASA/WMAP Science Team

Scientists at Rutgers University–New Brunswick and elsewhere are at a crossroads in their 50-year quest to go beyond the Standard Model in physics.

Rutgers Today asked professors Sunil Somalwar and Scott Thomas in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the School of Arts and Sciences to discuss mysteries of the universe. Somalwar's research focuses on experimental elementary particle physics, or , which involves smashing together at large particle accelerators such as the one at CERN in Switzerland. Thomas's research focuses on theoretical particle physics.

The duo, who collaborate on experiments, and other Rutgers physicists – including Yuri Gershtein – contributed to the historic 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson, a subatomic particle responsible for the structure of all matter and a key component of the Standard Model.

Rutgers Today: What is the Standard Model?

Thomas: It is a theory started about 50 years ago. It should be called "the most fantastically successful theory of everything ever" because it's a triumph of human intellect. It explains, in a theoretical structure and in great quantitative detail, every single experiment ever done in the laboratory. And no experiment so far conflicts with this theory. The capstone to the Standard Model experimentally was the discovery of the Higgs boson. It predicted the existence and interactions of lots of different particles, all of which were found. The problem is that as theorists, we are victims of our own success. The Standard Model is so successful that the theory does not point to answers to some of the questions we still have. The Higgs boson answered many questions, but we don't get clues directly from this theoretical structure how the remaining questions might be answered, so we're at a crossroads in this 50-year quest. We need some hints from experiments and then, hopefully, the hints will be enough to tell us the next theoretical structure that underlies the Standard Model. 

Rutgers Today: What questions remain?

Somalwar: The Standard Model says that matter and antimatter should be nearly equal. But after the Big Bang about 13.8 billion years ago, matter amounted to one part in 10 billion and antimatter dropped to virtually zero. A big mystery is what happened to all the antimatter. And why are neutrinos (also subatomic particles) so light? Is the Higgs boson particle by itself or is there a Higgs zoo? There are good reasons that the Higgs boson could not possibly be alone. There's got to be more to the picture.

Rutgers Today: What are you focusing on?

Somalwar: I am looking for evidence of heavy particles that might have existed a picosecond after the Big Bang. These particles don't exist anymore because they degenerate. They're very unstable. They could explain why neutrinos are so light and why virtually all antimatter disappeared but not all matter disappeared. What we do is called frontier science – it's at the forefront of physics: the smallest distances and highest energies. Once you get to the frontier, you occupy much of the area and start prospecting. But at some point, things are mined out and you need a new frontier. We've just begun prospecting here. We don't have enough mined areas and we may have some gems lying there and more will come in the next year or two. So, it's a very exciting time right now because it's like we've gotten to the gold rush.

Thomas: I am trying to understand the physics underlying the Higgs sector of the Standard Model theory, which must include at least one particle – the Higgs boson. This sector is very important because it determines the size of atoms and the mass of elementary particles. The physics underlying the Higgs sector is a roadblock to understanding at a more fundamental scale. Are there other species of Higgs particles? What are their interactions and what properties do they have? That would start to give us clues and then maybe we could reconstruct a theory of what underlies the Standard Model. The real motivation is to understand the way the universe works at its most fundamental level. That's what drives us all.

Explore further: ATLAS sees Higgs boson decay to fermions

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tallenglish
1 / 5 (5) Mar 23, 2018
As the image above represents, and is matched with good experimental results - is the big bang. We are told it was one explosion and started the expansion - but we can't find any source.

Well why can't that big bang still be happening, what we think of as empty space is actually the very diffuse event horizon of that original black hole, dark matter is exactly what you think it might be, normal matter but lower into the black hole enough we can't see it. Gravity waves are actually just ripples along the edge.

If you imaging we are accelerating away from this black hole then spacetime would expand in all directions and most importantly we would always look as being in the center. Question is was the mass making us a kind of harwking radiation and what we think of as black holes just matter thats bent spacetime enough it fell back into the original and only black hole that exists.
tallenglish
1 / 5 (5) Mar 23, 2018
Matter close to the center of the universal black hole is 1D, then 2D as it gets closer to the edge, then 3D as it starts to cross the event horzon (as we are), then 4D+ as it escapes the black hole altogether (which we haven't seen yet as we are still too close).

It would just be a supersized version of what we see with supernova, galaxies - and to me that makes more sense (but still agrees) than the big bang theory with no before time. This way time to us is mearly the start of the black hole - there could easilly be many more and ultimately time is irrelivant, and the visible universe is just that, the limited horizon we can see due the curvature of the black hole, could it be the speed of light/causality is actually related to the rotational spin of the black hole or something similar?

Dark energy and matter will always be much greater as they are what makes up the mass of the BH, normal matter is the skin and very thin/light in comparison.
milnik
1 / 5 (2) Mar 24, 2018
Physicists, and especially, anyone who is smart, will never find out anything true if they serve the basis of the emergence of BB. Big Bang has so much entangled the science that people who deal with these problems know nothing about themselves and their existence.
These nebulosities, such as the phenomenon of BB, the spread of the universe, the dark matter and matter and energy, the Higgs boson, the gavitation waves and the perplexing Einstein theory and the story of a "marital bond" spat out space, where time orders the space to twist, and the space of time will be shortened and similar nonsense, these are "pesticides" for consciousness.
milnik
1 / 5 (1) Mar 24, 2018
Physicists, and especially, anyone who is smart, will never find out anything true if they serve the basis of the emergence of BB. Big Bang has so much entangled the science that people who deal with these problems know nothing about themselves and their existence.
These nebulosities, such as the phenomenon of BB, the spread of the universe, the dark matter and matter and energy, the Higgs boson, the gavitation waves and the perplexing Einstein theory and the story of a "marital bond" spat out space, where time orders the space to twist, and the space of time will be shortened and similar nonsense, these are "pesticides" for consciousness.
milnik
1 / 5 (1) Mar 24, 2018
Every reasonable one needs to see that those experts are contaminated and they do not know anything about: the structure of the universe, how and from what the matter arises, what is gravity and magnetism. For the sake of these ignorance, they invent some antimatter, dark matter, and matter and energy, offer us the formation of a universe from nothing, and this is shown as a time of beer. All people should undergo a profound psychiatric examination and be banned from not deceiving young people and young generations and not deter them from those who have formed all this, even our human beings.
Seeker2
not rated yet Mar 24, 2018
" after the Big Bang about 13.8 billion years ago, matter amounted to one part in 10 billion and antimatter dropped to virtually zero. A big mystery is what happened to all the antimatter."

Why would anything happen to it? Why aren't there antimatter galaxies out there - 50%, or pretty close to it? The usual reason given is that we would see more annihilation radiation if there were. But the annihilation energy mostly went into fueling inflation, it would seem.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (9) Mar 24, 2018
Oh, this should be fun (always is when you look at the comment section and notice every single one is on your ignore list)
Edenlegaia
not rated yet Mar 24, 2018
Oh, this should be fun (always is when you look at the comment section and notice every single one is on your ignore list)


They're angry. End of the story.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (1) Mar 24, 2018
They forgot to mention quantum gravity as one of the big questions that remain open; in fact, it may be the biggest of them.
milnik
1 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2018
cience attempts to harmonize the properties and the formation of gravity with some imaginary developments in quantum mechanics, but they do not know what gravity is and how it arises, and what is quantum and who causes it and what size it is, it is again their problem that does not solve many phenomena in the universe.
DonGateley
not rated yet Apr 08, 2018
Oh, this should be fun (always is when you look at the comment section and notice every single one is on your ignore list)


Actually it gave me the opportunity to add one to my list who was new to me, tallenglish. Always glad for those.
Seeker2
not rated yet Apr 09, 2018
So are we having fun yet? Suppose the standard model is right:

"Somalwar: The Standard Model says that matter and antimatter should be nearly equal."

In which case newly formed particles would have a 50-50 chance of survival. That is, they gravitate or otherwise encounter a similar matter type particle. In which case it could be possible in some universe that all 10^80 particles all clump together in one humongous black hole. Certainly more likely would be a black hole of 10^40 particles. Since the total number of particles are about 10^80, there would be in this universe 10*40 opportunities for a black hole of magnitude 10^40 to form. Since the probability of formation of a black hole of 10^40 similar type particles is 1/10^40, the possibility of formation of one of these black holes in 10^40 tries is, yes, likely. So we shouldn't be surprised to find some of those big boys out there.
Seeker2
not rated yet Apr 09, 2018
cont
In fact there would have to be many more particle pairs than 10^80 initially formed because many of them would be annihilated. The 10^80 number is only the surviving number of particles of each type.
Seeker2
not rated yet Apr 10, 2018
Here's one to cheer us up: Galaxies, it appears, are only temporary states of matter falling into their black holes. And eventually after numerous black hole annihilation events there will be only two left standing, and when they annihilate it's deja vu all over again. Cheers.
milnik
not rated yet Apr 10, 2018
Who is so clever and powerful that he could calculate that in the universe there are 10 ^ 80 particles. ? But, where is the problem that disavows this? The first is that this smartman does not know what the universe is and how much, Secondly, he does not distinguish neither the type nor the way of forming the particles, which is the biggest flaw, no one knows what the antimatter is. To know this, it would have been discovered to date, but I say that there is no antimatter in the universe as something permanent. In matter, the "anti" means the opposite of spin.
Seeker2
not rated yet Apr 16, 2018
Who is so clever and powerful that he could calculate that in the universe there are 10 ^ 80 particles. ?
Scale it down to whatever you wish. These types of arguments aren't actually scientific because they aren't testable. Only the mathematics itself, so it turns out to be only an exercise in mathematics.
milnik
not rated yet Apr 16, 2018
And mathematics is one type of tool that many people use to make something new or discover something. If non-humans use this tool, I can get rid of it, mostly, mind.
Seeker2
not rated yet Apr 16, 2018
If non-humans use this tool, I can get rid of it, mostly, mind.
You mean like computers?
milnik
not rated yet Apr 16, 2018
@Seeker2,
Did you start looking for your own consciousness in the computer? There is infinitely many intelligence and it is an artificial (it can be bought).
Seeker2
not rated yet Apr 17, 2018
@Seeker2,
Did you start looking for your own consciousness in the computer? There is infinitely many intelligence and it is an artificial (it can be bought).
The sentence structure used in your questions seems to be good. Otherwise you might want to invest in some of this intelligence.
milnik
not rated yet Apr 17, 2018
No. I do not want to participate in the funding of artificial intelligence, because with this intelligence, science is sufficiently blinded.
Seeker2
not rated yet Apr 28, 2018
Who is so clever and powerful that he could calculate that in the universe there are 10 ^ 80 particles. ?
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey does come to mind.
milnik
not rated yet Apr 28, 2018
Do scientists know what intelligence is and what does it explain? So science does not know anything about what gravity is, how it arises and what its purpose is in the universe, and there are hundreds of "evidence that gravity works, just what is the problem, not one" proof "is the same. Soon science will make a model for computers to work children. How smart are some, and this will try !!
Seeker2
not rated yet Apr 28, 2018
Do scientists know what intelligence is and what does it explain?
Definitely not always smart enough to know what cornball philosophy is, don't you think?

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