Thursday, September 26, 2013

Spacetime May Differ For Elementary Particles

Per the big bang theory (the most widely accepted theory that details the origin of the universe), the whole of the cosmos- with its three dimensions of space and one dimension of time - was created in mere nanoseconds almost 14 billion years ago. Notably, the big bang theory does not simply offer an explanation for the origin of the matter that now permeates spacetime, it offers an explanation for creation of spacetime itself. Many believe that the big bang theory is problematic for precisely this reason i.e., it is problematic because it seems to assert that something came from nothing. However, there is an idea that could make sense of this little conundrum, and it is getting a strong foothold among many in the scientific community. This idea proposes something quite interesting - that spacetime may NOT be the same for all elementary particles.

Say what?

For quite a number of years now, physicists have been attempting to reconcile classical quantum mechanics with general relativity in a way that would allow us to determine the laws of quantum gravity. One such model is called loop quantum gravity (or LQG), which we have discussed before. This model postulates that spacetime itself is likely similar in structure to fabric (like a tapestry), comprised of a series of minutely small fibers that are twisted and curved to form loops. Under this scenario, the tapestry would contain some million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion (10^66) fibers (per square centimeter!)

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