Is our universe merely one of billions? Evidence of the existence of ’multiverse’ revealed for the first time by a cosmic map of background radiation data gathered by Planck telescope. The first ’hard evidence’ that other universes exist has been claimed to have been found by cosmologists studying new Planck data released this past June. They have concluded that it shows anomalies that can only have been caused by the gravitational pull of other universes.
“Such ideas may sound wacky now, just like the Big Bang theory did three generations ago,” says George Efstathiou, professor of astrophysics at Cambridge University.”But then we got evidence and now it has changed the whole way we think about the universe.”
Scientists had predicted that it should be evenly distributed, but the map shows a stronger concentration in the south half of the sky and a ’cold spot’ that cannot be explained by current understanding of physics. Laura Mersini-Houghton, theoretical physicist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Richard Holman, professor at Carnegie Mellon University, predicted that anomalies in radiation existed and were caused by the pull from other universes in 2005. Mersini-Houghton will be in Britain soon promoting this theory and, we expect, the hard evidence at the Hay Festival on May 31 and at Oxford on June 11.
Dr Mersini-Houghton believes her hypothesis has been proven from the Planck data that data has been used to create a map of light from when the universe was just 380,000 years old. “These anomalies were caused by other universes pulling on our universe as it formed during the Big Bang,” she says. “They are the first hard evidence for the existence of other universes that we have seen.”
Columbia University mathematician Peter Woit writes in his blog, Not Even Wrong, that in recent years there have been many claims made for “evidence” of a multiverse, supposedly found in the CMB data. “Such claims often came with the remark that the Planck CMB data would convincingly decide the matter. When the Planck data was released two months ago, I looked through the press coverage and through the Planck papers for any sign of news about what the new data said about these multiverse evidence claims. There was very little there; possibly the Planck scientists found these claims to be so outlandish that it wasn’t worth the time to look into what the new data had to say about them.
“One exception,” Woit adds, “was this paper, where Planck looked for evidence of ’dark flow’. They found nothing, and a New Scientist article summarized the situation: ’The Planck team’s paper appears to rule out the claims of Kashlinsky and collaborators,’ says David Spergel of Princeton University, who was not involved in the work. If there is no dark flow, there is no need for exotic explanations for it, such as other universes, says Planck team member Elena Pierpaoli at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. “You don’t have to think of alternatives.’”
“Dark Flow” sounds like a new SciFi Channel series. It’s not! The dark flow is controversial because the distribution of matter in the observed universe cannot account for it. Its existence suggests that some structure beyond the visible universe — outside our “horizon” — is pulling on matter in our vicinity.
Pitt-led research team receives U.S. Army Research Office grant to develop 4D printing of adaptive materials
PITTSBURGH—Imagine an automobile coating that changes its structure to adapt to a humid environment or a salt-covered road, better protecting the car from corrosion. Or consider a soldier’s uniform that could alter its camouflage or more effectively protect against poison gas or shrapnel upon contact.
A trio of university researchers from the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the University of Illinois is proposing to advance 3D printing one step—or rather, one dimension—further. Thanks to an $855,000 grant from the United States Army Research Office, the team hopes to develop 4D materials, which can exhibit behavior that changes over time.
The team includes principal investigator Anna C. Balazs, the Robert v. d. Luft Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering and a researcher in the computational design of chemo-mechanically responsive gels and composites. Co-investigators are Jennifer A. Lewis, the Hansjorg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and an expert in 3D printing of functional materials; and Ralph G. Nuzzo, the G. L. Clark Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois, a synthetic chemist who has created novel stimuli-responsive materials.
The three scientists will integrate their expertise to manipulate materials at nano and micro levels in order to produce, via 3D printing, materials that can modify their structures over time at the macro level. Three-dimensional printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the process of creating a 3D object based upon a digital model by depositing successive layers of material.
“Rather than construct a static material or one that simply changes its shape, we’re proposing the development of adaptive, biomimetic composites that reprogram their shape, properties, or functionality on demand, based upon external stimuli,” Balazs explained. “By integrating our abilities to print precise, three-dimensional, hierarchically-structured materials; synthesize stimuli-responsive components; and predict the temporal behavior of the system, we expect to build the foundation for the new field of 4D printing.”
Lewis added that current 3D printing technology allows the researchers to build in complicated functionality at the nano and micro levels—not just throughout an entire structure, but also within specific areas of the structure. “If you use materials that possess the ability to change their properties or shape multiple times, you don’t have to build for a specific, one-time use,” she explained. “Composites that can be reconfigured in the presence of different stimuli could dramatically extend the reach of 3D printing.”
Sir Richard Branson has sold 700 tickets for trips on his Virgin Galactic spaceflights and reckons he will be ready to launch within a “matter of months”.
The billionaire founder of the Virgin Group told the Institute of Director’s annual convention that the ticket sales, which reportedly cost $200,000 (£125,000) each, have helped fund the project to the late stages.
Sir Richard said the space flights would be only three hours long to keep the costs down. But he has grand plans for the venture, including launching a space hotel for people to go and stay for holidays. Asked if he had launched the company because he had “exhausted all the excitement on earth,”
Sir Richard said he had wanted to go to space ever since watching Neil Armstrong land on the moon in 1969. But knowing that NASA would never send ordinary people into orbit, he decided to launch his own space tourism company.
He said he believed the “vast majority” of people would like to go to space – “if we could guarantee a return ticket,” he joked. “Only 500 people have ever been to space,” he said. “We’ll put the same number up in the first year.”
Sir Richard said he would not have been able to expand Virgin if the group had remained listed on the stockmarket. He said he didn’t want to “criticise the City” but said there was a biased towards specialist companies and against varied businesses like Virgin. He argued that investors and analysts would not have supported his expansion from record to planes to space but argued the company would have failed without diversifying.
Sir Richard, who on Sunday secured a Guinness World Record with 318 others for forming the largest parade of kitesurfers, said he had had “magnificent adventures” that had “enriched his life.”