is today, unless your team plays tomorrow, and I’m still experiencing a little March Madness. Not sure what to do with myself, besides apologize ahead of time for the sports craziness that may infect your Dashboards over the next few days, as well as between now and October.
I told you they were good! That’s Purdue’s most points allowed in a game all season, on top of last game’s feat of bringing Georgetown their biggest deficit. This is also the first time in the school’s history that VCU has made it to the Sweet 16. I even high-fived a homeless guy; that’s how awesome the streets around campus were last night (Yes, we have homeless people — we ARE in a city — and yes, they keep up with VCU sports).
AND GUESS WHAT - WE MADE THE NY TIMES. THE PRINTED KIND.
(Tune into TBS Friday at 9:55 p.m. to watch us beat Florida State.)
Side note: I stayed with Jill after the game (Yes, dreamt of homicides again.) and we woke to morning thunderstorms — thunder and lightning at 7 for about an hour. It’s as if the first day of spring, which was yesterday, literally brought spring. Granted, I’ve been gone for a week, but since a week ago, all of the parks have gone green, leaves exist again, and the trees lining the Student Commons are in absolute full bloom. My mucous membranes are overjoyed. Still, I usually find the switch of the seasons to be pretty exciting.
As far as allergies go, they say each person’s body has a different preference for medications, so start trying them on for size with the cheapest and work your way up the price scale.
If the latest theory of Tom Weiler and Chui Man Ho is right, the Large Hadron Collider — the world’s largest atom smasher that started regular operation last year — could be the first machine capable of causing matter to travel backwards in time.
“Our theory is a long shot,” admitted Weiler, who is a physics professor at Vanderbilt University, “but it doesn’t violate any laws of physics or experimental constraints.”
One of the major goals of the collider is to find the elusive Higgs boson: the particle that physicists invoke to explain why particles like protons, neutrons and electrons have mass. If the collider succeeds in producing the Higgs boson, some scientists predict that it will create a second particle, called the Higgs singlet, at the same time.
According to Weiler and Ho’s theory, these singlets should have the ability to jump into an extra, fifth dimension where they can move either forward or backward in time and reappear in the future or past.
“One of the attractive things about this approach to time travel is that it avoids all the big paradoxes,” Weiler said. “Because time travel is limited to these special particles, it is not possible for a man to travel back in time and murder one of his parents before he himself is born, for example. However, if scientists could control the production of Higgs singlets, they might be able to send messages to the past or future.”
Unsticking the “brane”
The test of the researchers’ theory will be whether the physicists monitoring the collider begin seeing Higgs singlet particles and their decay products spontaneously appearing. If they do, Weiler and Ho believe that they will have been produced by particles that travel back in time to appear before the collisions that produced them.
Weiler and Ho’s theory is based on M-theory, a “theory of everything.” A small cadre of theoretical physicists have developed M-theory to the point that it can accommodate the properties of all the known subatomic particles and forces, including gravity, but it requires 10 or 11 dimensions instead of our familiar four. This has led to the suggestion that our universe may be like a four-dimensional membrane or “brane” floating in a multi-dimensional space-time called the “bulk.”
According to this view, the basic building blocks of our universe are permanently stuck to the brane and so cannot travel in other dimensions. There are some exceptions, however. Some argue that gravity, for example, is weaker than other fundamental forces because it diffuses into other dimensions. Another possible exception is the proposed Higgs singlet, which responds to gravity but not to any of the other basic forces.
Answers in neutrinos?
Weiler began looking at time travel six years ago to explain anomalies that had been observed in several experiments with neutrinos. Neutrinos are nicknamed ghost particles because they react so rarely with ordinary matter: Trillions of neutrinos hit our bodies every second, yet we don’t notice them because they zip through without affecting us.
Weiler and colleagues Heinrich Päs and Sandip Pakvasa at the University of Hawaii came up with an explanation of the anomalies based on the existence of a hypothetical particle called the sterile neutrino. In theory, sterile neutrinos are even less detectable than regular neutrinos because they interact only with gravitational force. As a result, sterile neutrinos are another particle that is not attached to the brane and so should be capable of traveling through extra dimensions.
Weiler, Päs and Pakvasa proposed that sterile neutrinos travel faster than light by taking shortcuts through extra dimensions. According to Einstein’s general theory of relativity, there are certain conditions where traveling faster than the speed of light is equivalent to traveling backward in time. This led the physicists into the speculative realm of time travel.
Ideas impact science fiction
In 2007, the researchers, along with Vanderbilt graduate fellow James Dent, posted a paper titled “Neutrino time travel” that generated a considerable amount of buzz.
Their ideas found their way into two science fiction novels.Final Theory by Mark Alpert, which was described in the New York Times as a “physics-based version of The Da Vinci Code,” is based on the researchers’ idea of neutrinos taking shortcuts in extra dimensions. Joe Haldeman’s novel The Accidental Time Machine is about a time-traveling MIT graduate student and includes an author’s note that describes the novel’s relationship to the type of time travel described by Dent, Päs, Pakvasa and Weiler.
Ho is a graduate fellow working with Weiler. Their theory is described in a paper posted March 7 on the research website arXiv.org.
I’ve been feeling guilty lately for not giving more of myself on this blog, as many of you do!
So, here goes.
I’m sitting in the Cancer Treatment Center right now. My rock, my eldest tie to Boston, my intelligent, tech-savvy sports fanatic of a grandfather is currently receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer and no matter how many times I’ve been here, it’s always a unnerving.
I’m scared to death of failing at my career and all I can do is hope and pray that by 2013, I will be and/or feel more prepared for the world.
As unrealistic as it may be, I want what my best friend always talked about growing up – that love that you read about and see in movies. I want flowers and chivalry, and I hope to find that before I get gray.
I’ve been having dreams as of late about people close to me dying extravagant, and might I add, creative deaths. Is this a fear, or should I start questioning my sanity?
I very briefly mentioned the birth of this new nation in an old post. After voters almost unanimously chose succession in January, South Sudan was born. Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, fought against this movement for a while, dropping bombs into the southern region of his country until December. With pressures from the United States and other countries, however, he eventually agreed to respect whatever came of January’s voting results.
But what has come of the South Sudanese?
Prior to the vote for succession, the North and South had been at war for more than 20 years. Today, people arrive by the busload from the North, eager to start their lives anew, including many that have never been to their family’s homeland and many that have not seen this territory since childhood. Although it is now safe to return home, trouble arises from the South’s struggling infrastructure. The people are building communities out of whatever materials they have, but food, water, schools, and clinics are scarce, and a very small amount of aid is in the area.
I understand helping Japan get back on its feet, but let us not forget that they will struggle for years after the media coverage ceases and that many other groups of people struggle each and every day.
I love American History. I love all things travel. Vintage things make me purr – and I mean real vintage. I’m talking about the smell of old books and the inside of your great great grandmother’s armoire.
Spring break back home is going swimmingly and, rest assured, a video documentary of the week is on its way, to make up for lack of frequent posts.
Also debating making a descriptive subtitle/tagline/manifesto for Big City Kitty!
Actually, let me make myself clear. I have a problem with most atheists. I am completely open to almost every form of religion, and quite frankly, atheism is just another religion to me. It’s a collective set of opinions regarding spirituality, the existence of it…
I suppose that if you’ve been keeping up with VCU Men’s Basketball via this blog, I should at least tell you that after taking top seed George Mason out of the running, they are now just minutes away from the NCAA. The game is tonight at 7 p.m.
Live streaming of VCU kicking George Mason tail. Loving. Every minute. Of it. If it wasn’t for an interview at 2, yours truly would be on 5th Street right about now, at the Richmond Coliseum, screaming and flailing.
Sigh. Confession: My momma literally cries, or almost cries, when this movie is on — not because of the people dying, but because it directly reminds her of me as a kid. I was OBSESSED with this movie at age 7. How girly am I? Ok, getting off the Alex soapbox now. (Yes, that’s my name.)
According to my own personal preferences, rural > urban. I have always felt that way. My best friend and I went on a roadtrip this past weekend and she called me a hick. (She loves the Outer Banks of North Carolina with the same passion I do, though, so she doesn’t have that much room to talk.) There is just nothing as grounding for me as heading south. But, if possible, I would suggest getting the feel for living in an urban environment at least once, just to experience the collision of so many minds and hearts in such a busy little space. And it’s amazing that this is coming from me because I’ve never really been a fan of people. But I think something is missing in your heart until you’re truly attached to a city, even if fields of grass and barn raisings are more your scene. Plus, if nothing else, it’s always fun to cruise through downtown amidst skyscrapers and blare this song. Anyway, that’s my two cents for the day.