New pear-shaped atom suggest impossibility of time travel
To paraphrase the poet, “O the simple joy of reading tech articles.” You will find in tech articles the delight of understatement and the amazement of scant humility. Take, for example, this headline: “New discoveries suggest the universe might not be what we thought.” What a nugget! I want to reply, “Really?! And what did you think?” But I refrain.
Put simply, they have discovered a pear-shaped atom. Previously, it was thought that only soccer-ball-shaped (spherical), football-shaped (ellipsoid) and discus-shaped (circular, but more like a red blood cell) atoms existed. Which is really quite enough diversity to satisfy most of us. But now there is this new pear-shaped atom for which there is no sport analogy. Unless you wish to suggest the punching bag. But I digress.
The actual Forbes article is headlined, “Pear-Shaped Atom Points to a Cosmic Mystery.” I assume the pun was intended due to the pointy nature of the pear. What is the mystery? Allow me to quote:
In the early moments after the big bang, when matter was being produced for the first time, there should have been an equal amount of matter and antimatter. But what we see today is a Universe dominated by matter. The origin of this matter-antimatter asymmetry is one of the great unanswered questions of cosmology.
That was heavy and deep. But there is a very pertinent point to the concept of the symmetry of matter and antimatter. The pear-shaped atom is not symmetrical, and so adds an element of uncertainty, or “mystery” as the headline calls it.
Futurism.com indicates that this asymmetrical, lopsided, pear shape, may suggest that time travel is impossible. On the other hand, it shows that it is possible for a nuclei to have more mass on one side than the other, that is, for asymmetrical atoms to exist. Which is what violates the fundamental theory in physics of symmetry and relates to the unsymmetrical distribution of matter and antimatter in the Universe.
The other shapes of atomic nuclei – spherical, ellipsoid and discus – are all reasonably symmetrical. Not so the pear-shaped nuclei. The existence of the diverse pear-shaped nuclei “could help us understand why our universe is the way that it is.” The asymmetrical shape of the nuclei causes it to point in a certain direction. It is suggested that this explains why time seems only to go forward and not backward.
The article quotes Marcus Scheck, University of the West of Scotland, saying,
We’ve found these nuclei literally point towards a direction in space. This relates to a direction in time, proving there’s a well-defined direction in time and we will always travel from past to present.
With that, we are all compelled to say, “The Universe might not be what we thought,” and feel ourselves being propelled into “a new era of theoretical physics.” Although, in spite of the compelling and propelling, is it really too soon to say whether the current model of physics might “need to be revised”?
Wasn’t that delightful? A tech article that was a joy to read and has the pratical application of propelling you to get your old Back to the Future DVD and rewatch it. Or toss it. Be sure to let me know which. Time is standing still until I hear.