The Science Life
Follow
Find
34 views | +0 today
 
Rescooped by Marie Rippen from Amazing Science
onto The Science Life
Scoop.it!

Universe may not be expanding after all but may be gaining mass instead -- initial singularity no longer needed

Universe may not be expanding after all but may be gaining mass instead -- initial singularity no longer needed | The Science Life | Scoop.it
Particles' changing masses could explain why distant galaxies appear to be rushing away.

 

The Universe started in a big bang and has been expanding ever since. For nearly a century, this has been the standard view of the Universe. Now one cosmologist is proposing a radically different interpretation of events — in which the Universe is not expanding at all.

 

In a paper posted on the arXiv preprint server, Christof Wetterich, a theoretical physicist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, has devised a different cosmology scenario in which the Universe is not expanding but the mass of everything has been increasing. Such an interpretation could help physicists to understand problematic issues such as the so-called singularity present at the Big Bang, he says.

 

Astronomers measure whether objects are moving away from or towards Earth by analysing the light that their atoms emit or absorb, which comes in characteristic colours, or frequencies. When matter is moving away from us, these frequencies appear shifted towards the red, or lower-frequency, part of the spectrum, in the same way that we hear the pitch of an ambulance siren drop as it speeds past. In the 1920s, astronomers including Georges Lemaître and Edwin Hubble found that most galaxies exhibit such a redshift — and that the redshift was greater for more distant galaxies. From these observations, they deduced that the Universe must be expanding.

 

But, as Wetterich points out, the characteristic light emitted by atoms is also governed by the masses of the atoms' elementary particles, and in particular of their electrons. If an atom were to grow in mass, the photons it emits would become more energetic. Because higher energies correspond to higher frequencies, the emission and absorption frequencies would move towards the blue part of the spectrum. Conversely, if the particles were to become lighter, the frequencies would become redshifted.

 

Because the speed of light is finite, when we look at distant galaxies we are looking backwards in time — seeing them as they would have been when they emitted the light that we observe. If all masses were once lower, and had been constantly increasing, the colours of old galaxies would look redshifted in comparison to current frequencies, and the amount of redshift would be proportionate to their distances from Earth. Thus, the redshift would make galaxies seem to be receding even if they were not.

 

Work through the maths in this alternative interpretation of redshift, and all of cosmology looks very different. The Universe still expands rapidly during a short-lived period known as inflation. But prior to inflation, according to Wetterich, the Big Bang no longer contains a 'singularity' where the density of the Universe would be infinite. Instead, the Big Bang stretches out in the past over an essentially infinite period of time. And the current cosmos could be static, or even beginning to contract.

 

The idea may be plausible, but it comes with a big problem: it can't be tested. Mass is what’s known as a dimensional quantity, and can be measured only relative to something else. For instance, every mass on Earth is ultimately determined relative to a kilogram standard that sits in a vault on the outskirts of Paris, at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. If the mass of everything — including the official kilogramme — has been growing proportionally over time, there could be no way to find out.

 

For Wetterich, the lack of an experimental test misses the point. He says that his interpretation could be useful for thinking about different cosmological models, in the same way that physicists use different interpretations of quantum mechanics that are all mathematically consistent. In particular, Wetterich says, the lack of a Big Bang singularity is a major advantage.

 

He will have a hard time winning everyone over to his interpretation. “I remain to be convinced about the advantage, or novelty, of this picture,” says Niayesh Afshordi, an astrophysicist at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada. According to Afshordi, cosmologists envisage the Universe as expanding only because it is the most convenient interpretation of galaxies' redshift.

 

Others say that Wetterich’s interpretation could help to keep cosmologists from becoming entrenched in one way of thinking. “The field of cosmology these days is converging on a standard model, centred around inflation and the Big Bang,” says physicist Arjun Berera at the University of Edinburgh, UK. “This is why it’s as important as ever, before we get too comfortable, to see if there are alternative explanations consistent with all known observation.”

 

 
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Marie Rippen's insight:

Thought-provoking stuff, but the last point is my favorite--the idea that this theory is important mostly because it upends current assumptions. So much of what we think we know about the world is based upon unproven theories that we must keep an open mind even when our cherished dogma is threatened.

Science is so much more about what we don't know than what we do.

 
more...
Peter Phillips's curator insight, July 25, 2013 3:06 PM

Wetterich points out, the characteristic light emitted by atoms is also governed by the masses of the atoms' elementary particles, and in particular of their electrons. If an atom were to grow in mass, the photons it emits would become more energetic. Because higher energies correspond to higher frequencies, the emission and absorption frequencies would move towards the blue part of the spectrum. Conversely, if the particles were to become lighter, the frequencies would become redshifted.

 

Because the speed of light is finite, when we look at distant galaxies we are looking backwards in time — seeing them as they would have been when they emitted the light that we observe. If all masses were once lower, and had been constantly increasing, the colours of old galaxies would look redshifted in comparison to current frequencies, and the amount of redshift would be proportionate to their distances from Earth. Thus, the redshift would make galaxies seem to be receding even if they were not.

Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Marie Rippen
Scoop.it!

Stressful Research Turns Cells into Stem Cells - MIT Technology Review

Stressful Research Turns Cells into Stem Cells - MIT Technology Review | The Science Life | Scoop.it
Sydney Morning Herald
Stressful Research Turns Cells into Stem Cells
MIT Technology Review
A new report in Nature claims that bathing cells from an adult mouse in a simple acid solution turns them into potent and versatile stem cells.
Marie Rippen's insight:

Duuuudddeee... I wanna try it!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Marie Rippen
Scoop.it!

UN News - Launching scientific advisory board, Ban urges bridging gap between science, policy

UN News - Launching scientific advisory board, Ban urges bridging gap between science, policy | The Science Life | Scoop.it
The United Nations must use science and technology to strengthen its policy-making on sustainable development, reducing inequality and eradicating extreme poverty, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said launching his advisory board of scientists.
Marie Rippen's insight:

This is awesome! Such a step in the right direction. I hope the board is effective and not just for show. Time will tell...

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Marie Rippen
Scoop.it!

Science Writing: You’re A Human, So Write Like One - Next Scientist

Science Writing: You’re A Human, So Write Like One - Next Scientist | The Science Life | Scoop.it
Science writing is a tough job for scientists. We sound like robots at the beginning of our careers. Learn how to sound more human in your science writing.
 
Marie Rippen's insight:

Awesome article. I absolutely agree and I want to say what the author stops short of:  Please stop trying to sound smart just for the sake of sounding smart.

 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Marie Rippen
Scoop.it!

Benefits of Meditation: 10 Science-Based Reasons To Start Meditating Today INFOGRAPHIC - Emma Seppala Ph.D.

Benefits of Meditation: 10 Science-Based Reasons To Start Meditating Today INFOGRAPHIC - Emma Seppala Ph.D. | The Science Life | Scoop.it
For the last 10 years, I have been involved in researching the impact of meditation on health and well-being. This infographic summarized some of the key findings about the benefits of meditation.
 
Marie Rippen's insight:

As neuroscience progresses, we may learn even more ways that meditation benefits the brain.

 

 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Marie Rippen
Scoop.it!

Religious people are less intelligent than atheists, according to analysis of scores of scientific studies stretching back over decades

Religious people are less intelligent than atheists, according to analysis of scores of scientific studies stretching back over decades | The Science Life | Scoop.it
A new review of 63 scientific studies stretching back over decades has concluded that religious people are less intelligent than non-believers.
 
Marie Rippen's insight:

I hope that those who read this article can take a step back and see that this is an example of how irresponsible communication can breed prejudice, and make an effort to prevent it in the future.

 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Marie Rippen
Scoop.it!

Deal done over HeLa cell line

Deal done over HeLa cell line | The Science Life | Scoop.it
Family of Henrietta Lacks agrees to release of genomic data.
 
Marie Rippen's insight:

Way to go NIH! Nicely done Dr. Collins and as always, thank you to all the Lacks, especially Henrietta.

 

 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Marie Rippen
Scoop.it!

How Do We Solve the World’s Great Development Challenges? By Harnessing the Power of Science and Technology

How Do We Solve the World’s Great Development Challenges? By Harnessing the Power of Science and Technology | The Science Life | Scoop.it
Fifty-one years ago, President Kennedy laid out a vision for foreign assistance through the creation of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The world has changed since then. Many of
 
Marie Rippen's insight:

We need science and technology in order to make current processes more efficient--otherwise we'll simply run out of the resources that such a huge world population requires.

 

 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Marie Rippen
Scoop.it!

5 Alternative Digital Jobs For Science Graduates Bubble Jobs Blog | Bubble Jobs

5 Alternative Digital Jobs For Science Graduates Bubble Jobs Blog | Bubble Jobs | The Science Life | Scoop.it
Just graduated with a Science degree but not sure which digital jobs you'd be suited to! This blog outlines five of your best digital career options!
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Marie Rippen from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Universe may not be expanding after all but may be gaining mass instead -- initial singularity no longer needed

Universe may not be expanding after all but may be gaining mass instead -- initial singularity no longer needed | The Science Life | Scoop.it
Particles' changing masses could explain why distant galaxies appear to be rushing away.

 

The Universe started in a big bang and has been expanding ever since. For nearly a century, this has been the standard view of the Universe. Now one cosmologist is proposing a radically different interpretation of events — in which the Universe is not expanding at all.

 

In a paper posted on the arXiv preprint server, Christof Wetterich, a theoretical physicist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, has devised a different cosmology scenario in which the Universe is not expanding but the mass of everything has been increasing. Such an interpretation could help physicists to understand problematic issues such as the so-called singularity present at the Big Bang, he says.

 

Astronomers measure whether objects are moving away from or towards Earth by analysing the light that their atoms emit or absorb, which comes in characteristic colours, or frequencies. When matter is moving away from us, these frequencies appear shifted towards the red, or lower-frequency, part of the spectrum, in the same way that we hear the pitch of an ambulance siren drop as it speeds past. In the 1920s, astronomers including Georges Lemaître and Edwin Hubble found that most galaxies exhibit such a redshift — and that the redshift was greater for more distant galaxies. From these observations, they deduced that the Universe must be expanding.

 

But, as Wetterich points out, the characteristic light emitted by atoms is also governed by the masses of the atoms' elementary particles, and in particular of their electrons. If an atom were to grow in mass, the photons it emits would become more energetic. Because higher energies correspond to higher frequencies, the emission and absorption frequencies would move towards the blue part of the spectrum. Conversely, if the particles were to become lighter, the frequencies would become redshifted.

 

Because the speed of light is finite, when we look at distant galaxies we are looking backwards in time — seeing them as they would have been when they emitted the light that we observe. If all masses were once lower, and had been constantly increasing, the colours of old galaxies would look redshifted in comparison to current frequencies, and the amount of redshift would be proportionate to their distances from Earth. Thus, the redshift would make galaxies seem to be receding even if they were not.

 

Work through the maths in this alternative interpretation of redshift, and all of cosmology looks very different. The Universe still expands rapidly during a short-lived period known as inflation. But prior to inflation, according to Wetterich, the Big Bang no longer contains a 'singularity' where the density of the Universe would be infinite. Instead, the Big Bang stretches out in the past over an essentially infinite period of time. And the current cosmos could be static, or even beginning to contract.

 

The idea may be plausible, but it comes with a big problem: it can't be tested. Mass is what’s known as a dimensional quantity, and can be measured only relative to something else. For instance, every mass on Earth is ultimately determined relative to a kilogram standard that sits in a vault on the outskirts of Paris, at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. If the mass of everything — including the official kilogramme — has been growing proportionally over time, there could be no way to find out.

 

For Wetterich, the lack of an experimental test misses the point. He says that his interpretation could be useful for thinking about different cosmological models, in the same way that physicists use different interpretations of quantum mechanics that are all mathematically consistent. In particular, Wetterich says, the lack of a Big Bang singularity is a major advantage.

 

He will have a hard time winning everyone over to his interpretation. “I remain to be convinced about the advantage, or novelty, of this picture,” says Niayesh Afshordi, an astrophysicist at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada. According to Afshordi, cosmologists envisage the Universe as expanding only because it is the most convenient interpretation of galaxies' redshift.

 

Others say that Wetterich’s interpretation could help to keep cosmologists from becoming entrenched in one way of thinking. “The field of cosmology these days is converging on a standard model, centred around inflation and the Big Bang,” says physicist Arjun Berera at the University of Edinburgh, UK. “This is why it’s as important as ever, before we get too comfortable, to see if there are alternative explanations consistent with all known observation.”

 

 
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Marie Rippen's insight:

Thought-provoking stuff, but the last point is my favorite--the idea that this theory is important mostly because it upends current assumptions. So much of what we think we know about the world is based upon unproven theories that we must keep an open mind even when our cherished dogma is threatened.

Science is so much more about what we don't know than what we do.

 
more...
Peter Phillips's curator insight, July 25, 2013 3:06 PM

Wetterich points out, the characteristic light emitted by atoms is also governed by the masses of the atoms' elementary particles, and in particular of their electrons. If an atom were to grow in mass, the photons it emits would become more energetic. Because higher energies correspond to higher frequencies, the emission and absorption frequencies would move towards the blue part of the spectrum. Conversely, if the particles were to become lighter, the frequencies would become redshifted.

 

Because the speed of light is finite, when we look at distant galaxies we are looking backwards in time — seeing them as they would have been when they emitted the light that we observe. If all masses were once lower, and had been constantly increasing, the colours of old galaxies would look redshifted in comparison to current frequencies, and the amount of redshift would be proportionate to their distances from Earth. Thus, the redshift would make galaxies seem to be receding even if they were not.

Scooped by Marie Rippen
Scoop.it!

The Awesomest 7-Year Postdoc or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tenure-Track Faculty Life | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network

The Awesomest 7-Year Postdoc or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tenure-Track Faculty Life | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network | The Science Life | Scoop.it
Scary myths and scary data abound about life as a tenure-track faculty at an
 
Marie Rippen's insight:

This is really good advice, including the part about not following advice.

 

 
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Marie Rippen from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Top 13500+ Science Blogs, ranked by popularity

Top 13500+ Science Blogs, ranked by popularity | The Science Life | Scoop.it

The top Science blogs in the Technorati Blog Directory seem to never run dry of interesting content.

 

The concept of science represents a collection of efforts put forth to expand the knowledge base of mankind, through research made in the fields of natural, formal, social, and applied sciences. The scientific method is at the core of these pursuits, with a general structure involving questions formulated leading to conducted experiments, followed by the results being analyzed and published for all to see.  The future of our understanding is based on this research, and resulting scientific discoveries are communicated through the blogosphere in a speedy fashion.

 

The rate of discovery increases daily, with various blogs reporting on items such as the  condition of the Large Hadron Collider experiment, the expanded usage of stem cells for the benefits of living organisms, and the continued development of nanotechnology for the medical and electronic advances it provides.

 
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Marie Rippen's insight:

Ooooo! Fun reading to distract from work!

 

 
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Marie Rippen from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

A groundbreaking project called Aireal lets you actually feel virtual objects

A groundbreaking project called Aireal lets you feel virtual objects. Aireal is the result of research by University of Illinois PhD student Rajinder Sodhi and Disney Reseach’s Ivan Poupyrev. When set by your television or connected to an iPad, this diminutive machine will puff air rings that allow you to actually feel objects and textures in midair — no special controllers or gloves required.

 

The machine itself is essentially a set of five speakers in a box — subwoofers that track your body through IR, then fire low frequencies through a nozzle to form donut-like vortices.

 

In practice, Aireal can do anything from creating a button for you to touch in midair to crafting whole textures by pulsing its bubbles to mimic water, stone, and sand. … A single Aireal could conceivably support multiple people, and a grid of Aireals could create extremely immersive rooms, creating sensations like a flock of birds flying by.

 
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Marie Rippen's insight:

Besides entertainment, this could have applications in physical therapy, education, advertising--anything you can think of where communicating the sensation of touch is important. Although, the first thing that popped into my head was Star Trek... holodeck anyone?

 

 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Marie Rippen
Scoop.it!

Nobel Prize winner explains why scientists shouldn't be 'table-banging ... - Environment & Energy Publishing

Nobel Prize winner explains why scientists shouldn't be 'table-banging ... - Environment & Energy Publishing | The Science Life | Scoop.it
LiveScience.com
Nobel Prize winner explains why scientists shouldn't be 'table-banging ...
Environment & Energy Publishing
Virginia Burkett. Photo courtesy of Burkett.
Marie Rippen's insight:

Really interesting! She makes a very good point that well-intentioned scientists often miss--that putting science into everyday terms does not mean telling the public, or policy-makers, what to think.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Marie Rippen
Scoop.it!

NIH Takes Steps to Improve Reproducibility

NIH Takes Steps to Improve Reproducibility | The Science Life | Scoop.it
Agency leaders discuss a series of pilot projects in Nature commentary (NIH Takes Steps to Improve Reproducibility | Science/AAAS | News http://t.co/Pc52bDKCqx via @AddThis)...
Marie Rippen's insight:

I am curious to see exactly how far-reaching the NIH's programs to train scientists will be. Training at the graduate student level is incredibly variable from lab to lab, and these students make up a large percentage of first authors on published work in the field.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Marie Rippen
Scoop.it!

DIY Space Programs - IEEE Spectrum

DIY Space Programs - IEEE Spectrum | The Science Life | Scoop.it
Citizen-science satellites allow anyone to run experiments in orbit (DIY Space Programs - Citizen-science satellites allow anyone to run experiments in orbit http://t.co/F13P6GN37R)...
 
Marie Rippen's insight:

This is so cool! I can't even begin to imagine what type of experiment to run, but it makes me want to figure something out. Ideas anyone???

 

 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Marie Rippen
Scoop.it!

Mutated Genes in Schizophrenia Map to Brain Networks - National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Mutated Genes in Schizophrenia Map to Brain Networks - National Institutes of Health (NIH) | The Science Life | Scoop.it
People with schizophrenia have a high number of spontaneous mutations in genes that form a network in the front region of the brain. The findings reveal new clues about the disorder.
 
Marie Rippen's insight:

This is such a well-written piece! The discovery itself is amazing too, but the way it is worded to be easily understood and yet still interesting to a scientist is wonderful.

 

 
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Marie Rippen from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
Scoop.it!

What good is twitter? Follow highlights of 3 congresses from the comfort of home!

What good is twitter? Follow highlights of 3 congresses from the comfort of home! | The Science Life | Scoop.it

Here's a good reason to start using twitter: This week you can follow the photosynthesis congress (‪#‎ps16stlouis‬), the Scandinavian Plant Physiology Society congress (‪#‎spps2013‬) and the American Phytopathogical Society congress (‪#‎APS2013‬) all from the comfort of your..... office, canoe, tablet, cell phone, lab bench - wherever you are!

 
Via Mary Williams
Marie Rippen's insight:

Even if you're not a plant biologist, this is a great point about using Twitter for more than just following gossip. It's an easy way to see the best snippets of news on whatever topic you're most interested in. I admit, it took me a while to join but now it's becoming an integral tool for staying current.

 

 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Marie Rippen
Scoop.it!

PHD Comics: Best Ideas

Link to Piled Higher and Deeper
 
Marie Rippen's insight:

It's not just the comic author whose creativity spikes when taking a shower--psychologists have seen that mindless tasks can help the creative process.

 

 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Marie Rippen
Scoop.it!

Education: The PhD factory : Nature News

Education: The PhD factory : Nature News | The Science Life | Scoop.it
Nature - the world's best science and medicine on your desktop
 
Marie Rippen's insight:

So, we won't be unemployed (most likely), but we won't be using our education either... And we're currently encouraging more young people to follow this path of dissappointment. Students need to know about this BEFORE they go to grad school and universities need to provide better job training.

 

 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Marie Rippen
Scoop.it!

Open-Access Movement Makes Inroads Beyond Science

Open-Access Movement Makes Inroads Beyond Science | The Science Life | Scoop.it
A conference this summer examined what an open-access publishing program for the humanities would look like, and some publishers are already exploring that option.
 
Marie Rippen's insight:

An unexpected impact that science is having on the general accessibility of information.

 
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Marie Rippen from Amazing Science
Scoop.it!

Scripps Research Institute and IBM launch a crowdsourcing project to find a cure against malaria

Scripps Research Institute and IBM launch a crowdsourcing project to find a cure against malaria | The Science Life | Scoop.it

A crowdsourcing initiative to find a cure for drug-resistant malaria has been unveiled by Scripps Research Institute and IBM. The project, to be partly funded by money won from the Jeopardy!game show by IBM’s Watson computing system, has invited the public to volunteer their computers for use when idle through the World Community Grid (WCG).

 

The project, “Go Fight Against Malaria,” will use the WCG to compute numbers and perform simulations. Currently, 575,000 people in over 80 countries have volunteered around 2 million PCs to the WCG.

 

Working on malaria started as a hobby that I advanced during nights and weekends for a couple years, when I wasn’t working on FightAIDS@Home. With persistence and a lot of help from IBM and from fellow Scripps Research scientists, we are now ready to launch the largest computational research project ever performed against drug-resistant malaria.

 

The WCG crowd computers will use idle time when the PCs are not being used by their owners to compute small allocated tasks. Scientists will thus benefit from whatever outcomes the system gives by using the data to find cures for diseases, clean energy research or developing healthier foods.

From the increased computing power, the Scripps Research scientists are hoping the WCG will help compress 100 years of computations needed for such a venture into just one year. Data from crowd PCs will be used by scientists to study numerous compounds that can potentially help develop a cure for drug-resistant strains of malaria. The results of the experiments will be availed to the public.

 
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
Marie Rippen's insight:

Cool! How awesome would it be to help cure malaria?!

 

 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Marie Rippen
Scoop.it!

Careers - California Biomedical Industry

Careers - California Biomedical Industry | The Science Life | Scoop.it

Click here to edit the content

 
Marie Rippen's insight:

If biotech is doing so well in CA, then why can't my friends graduating with their PhDs in biomedical science find real jobs (other than postdocs)? Because biotech is doing so well that they have drug discovery "down to a science" (ahem, pardon the pun). They don't require as many PhDs to do the big thinking. What they need are mid-level BS and MS scientists to do repetitive tasks under the direction of a PhD that has already been working in industry for a decade. Meanwhile, as the figure shows, CA is churning out PhDs like crazy because they are the cheap labor that fuels basic science, thus providing the raw material for biotech companies. These companies bring in revenue to CA, so the state is happy to put money into scientific research in academia, which in turn requires more PhD students to accomplish. It would be a perfect circle if those new PhDs weren't dumped off somewhere in the middle. Advanced scientific training is wonderful, but let's pair it with skills that lead to jobs.

 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Marie Rippen
Scoop.it!

New biology lab wants to democratize access to research tools for ...

New biology lab wants to democratize access to research tools for ... | The Science Life | Scoop.it
Bio, Tech and Beyond opened today in Carlsbad, Calif. They want to make basic biology research accessible to the advanced amateur and incubate product ideas.
 
Marie Rippen's insight:

Hacker spaces like this will hopefully encourage values like efficiency, sharing of resources, and transparency in the science world. These ideals are strived toward in academia, but intense competition for funding and prejudices about the way science "should" be done prevent any practical realization. Citizen science and crowdfunding may breathe the spirit of discovery for the common good back into scientific endeavors.

 
more...
No comment yet.