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Could We Find a Door To A Parallel Universe? 327

Posted by Zonk
from the alternate-me-is-posting-this-in-esperanto dept.
p1234 writes "Though no direct evidence for wormholes has been observed, this could be because they are disguised as black holes. Now Alexander Shatskiy of the Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow, Russia, is suggesting a possible way to tell the two kinds of object apart. His idea assumes the existence of a bizarre substance called "phantom matter", which has been proposed to explain how wormholes might stay open. Phantom matter has negative energy and negative mass, so it creates a repulsive effect that prevents the wormhole closing. 'US expert Dr Lawrence Krauss, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, points out that the idea rests on untested assumptions. He told New Scientist magazine: "It is an interesting attempt to actually think of what a real signature for a wormhole would be, but it is more hypothetical than observational. Without any idea of what phantom matter is and its possible interactions with light, it is not clear one can provide a general argument."'"
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Could We Find a Door To A Parallel Universe?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 03, 2008 @02:35PM (#22283564)
    Geesh, this isn't new news, it happened back in the 1960's... as I recall it was on stardate 3134.0
    we sent a captain, a doctor, and a scientist through the portal. Geesh, people have been talking about it for 40 years now.
  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @02:36PM (#22283574) Journal
    In Soviet Russia, the door to a parallel universe finds us.
  • by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Sunday February 03, 2008 @02:36PM (#22283576) Journal
    How about publicizing actual discoveries instead of random speculation?
    • by An. (Coward) (258552) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @02:41PM (#22283640)
      Evidence schmevidence, I for one won't believe in any of this black hole nonsense until I actually see one.
    • by farkus888 (1103903) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @03:20PM (#22283962)
      this post being modded insightful bothers me, because it is actually a perfect example of having no insight into the situation.

      1. Define the question
      2. Gather information and resources (observe)
      3. Form hypothesis
      4. Perform experiment and collect data
      5. Analyze data
      6. Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis
      7. Publish results
      8. Retest (frequently done by other scientists)

      taken from wikipedia those are the steps of the scientific method. I remember them from middle school, so I imagine most of this crowd should have been over them at some point. This article is a perfect example of step 3 in my opinion. step 2 is all of the already observed behavior of matter in the universe. here in step three we form a hypothesis about some detail that is unexplained or not understood. step 4, which these people have not gotten too yet, is to figure out a method to perform tests to prove or disprove their hypothesis and perform those tests. then they will analyze the results of their test, step 5. skipping over this step would leave them with no direction to take in their research, so they would probably never figure out anything.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Wonko the Sane (25252) *
        I'm just saying that "I have an idea, but have no clue how to test it yet" is a little premature for a press release
        • by farkus888 (1103903) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @03:34PM (#22284114)
          "I have an idea, but have no clue how to test it yet" is a perfect time to spread the word that you are looking for anyone with an idea how to test.
          • ok here's a test for this theory, produce some of this "phantom matter" So me something with negative mass, I'll use it to build anti-gravity devices and he will have all the research funding he ever needs.
            • you are certainly clever. except... how do you produce it? [step 1] that would be a lot easier to figure out if we were to know a little bit more about it.[step 2] guess at how we could make it.[step 3, maybe that could have gone better if we had done more research on this from a different angle. maybe throw some things around in a partical accelerator to get an idea of its other properties besides the one we thought it up because of? but you defintely wanted to skip that step because you don't like it.] th
      • by discontinuity (792010) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @04:30PM (#22284604)

        Absolutely. I wish I could mod you up, but I've already posted in this discussion. :(

        I think some people are quibbling with Step 1: Define the Question. Their complaint is that this is just a silly question that doesn't really matter (since we don't have proof that these things exist, why bother trying to figure out how they could exist...). I'm not of that mind, but clearly many people think that new theories must arise strictly from unexplained observations (I observed the apple fall down rather than up, but I have no theory to tell me why...). This is a rather limited view of science, IMHO (especially for phenomena we can't observe in a lab or nature). If scientists never are able to connect this theory to observation, it simply will fall into the dustbin of history. But that doesn't preclude it from being part of the scientific discussion until it is refuted conclusively.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Skevin (16048) *
      And speaking of random speculation, I've often wondered why in media, a "parallel universe" is often assumed to be similar our own. Not in terms of having evil twins of everything, but rather, similar enough to even pay a visit.

      I actually do believe in parallel universes (given that our own material space is but a single brane along higher dimensions), but I highly doubt that the laws of physics that exist in a parallel universe (or even a brane at a different "angle") would be similar enough to our own to
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Joe Tie. (567096)
        I've often wondered why in media, a "parallel universe" is often assumed to be similar our own.

        The extent of most science reporters education in science doesn't extend very far beyond star trek and sliders.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by kestasjk (933987)
          What's a "science reporter"? Whoever they are I thing their level of education reflects the target audience, it's as simple as that. New Scientist readers aren't interested in the mass of hadrons (and neither am I), they want to hear about experimental unified theories expressed in a vain attempt to appear comprehensible to a layman.

          Real physics is hard and time consuming, but people still like to try and see the bigger picture. The result are these magazines, it's not such a terrible thing.
      • "And it burns, burns, burns, the ring of fire. The ring of fire."
      • by Kamineko (851857)
        -- I'm constructing a machine that projects a large, vertical plane of annihilative energy (roughly circle-shaped) in my backyard - I'm calling it Darwin's portal. Just pay me five bucks and step right in...

        You are the older Will Robinson from the movie Lost In Space, and I claim my £5.

    • by thrawn_aj (1073100) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @03:57PM (#22284330)
      I am a physicist and I agree 100%. The essence of the article was summarized ages ago by Hawking in his first book. Nothing new at all. It was speculation then and it remains speculation now. To make USE of these speculative conjectures about the universe requires a technology on a much grander scale than we presently have. To wit - imagine particle accelerators girdling the globe or actual probes dispatched to the neighborhoods of black holes. Yeah, we ain't there yet, and until we are, expect more empty articles as the one above and more mathematical masturbation than experimental observation.
    • by hitmark (640295)
      einstein started out with thought experiments about riding a beam of light...

      yes its speculation, but as long as it provides a way to test said speculation, it cant just be dismissed without said test being performed.
      • but as long as it provides a way to test said speculation
        Exactly. This will be news once a test is devised, not before.
      • by arminw (717974) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @10:56PM (#22286962)
        ......einstein started out with thought experiments.......

        I was under the impression that experiments were real, not something imagined in some brain, even Einstein's brain.

        Nobody has ever directly observed a back hole. Here is a different thought experiment:

        Suppose it were technically possible to drill a hole clear through the Earth. If then a rock were dropped into the hole, would it not eventually come to rest, floating right in the center of the planet? Would that not mean that in the exact center there is no gravity to cause pressure on the material in the center either?

        Would this canceling out of the gravity also then preclude enough pressure from happening to squeeze matter to anywhere near the density to eliminate all space between atomic constituents? Would this canceling of gravity be reversed if enough matter were piled together in one place? It seems to me, not, that in any sphere of matter of any mass, the gravitational pressure on the material in the center should always be zero. Would this not preclude the formation of a real physical object, a so called "black hole" as described in the purely mathematical constructs that postulate the real existence of such things? Of course if there are no real physical black holes, then there wouldn't be any real physical "worm holes" or any other kinds of "holes" either.

        Does this canceling of pressure in the center of the sun mean that there isn't such a huge pressure there, even enough to allow atoms to fuse?

        We know from real experiments and everyday experience, that heat always moves for the hotter place to the cooler place. Why is it then that we actually MEASURED that the outside of the sun, the corona is thousands of time hotter than than its surface? Why are sunspots, apparent holes in the surface of the sun, significantly cooler than the surrounding surface?

        Could it be that the idea that atomic fusion with its requirement of million degree temperatures in the interior of the sun is just plain wrong? Maybe the sun is powered neither by an ancient wood campfire nor by a modern thermonuclear camp fire.

        Maybe it is time to base science solely on experiments and observations, rather than fanciful math that has little if any semblance to reality as we can observe it. I think that real science, based on experiment and observation should be well separated from science fiction even if the fiction is very beautiful mathematically, or makes for intriguing and exciting movies.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)
      >How about publicizing actual discoveries instead of random speculation?

      You must be new here.
  • by geek (5680) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @02:37PM (#22283584) Homepage
    It's like proving something exists buy using something that doesn't exist. I admire the guys imagination though. Just seems like he wants it to exist so he's making it so. IMHO science should be about working with the facts, which isn't what's going on here.
    • by rucs_hack (784150)
      Hmm, something that looks like a black hole, and acts like a black hole, might be a wormhole to a parallel universe?

      Seems to me that if its identical in most respects to a black hole, its probably, y'know, a hole of the blackish persuasion, other universe or not.

      Even if, in some fanciful way, they were usable, what good would it do us?

      First off, the closest black hole is pretty far off.

      Secondly, about that other universe, if it had different laws of physics, we couldn't exist there anyway.

      Therefore, I say w
      • The originally traversable-wormhole solutions to general relativity, published by Morris and Thorne (and then later expanded by Morris, Thorne and Yurtsiver) did look like black holes from the outside-- they were, essentially, based on the maximally-extended Flamm embedding of the Schwartzschild solution. But then Matt Visser pointed out that you can embed a wormhole into flat space; the Schwartzschild like part of the solution really is irrelevant to the wormhole feature. So, no, a wormhole doesn't reall
    • by vertinox (846076)
      "It's like proving something exists buy using something that doesn't exist."

      To be fair, if you can prove something doesn't exist or isn't true, then you can assume another theory is the more probable scenario. However, one must be opened minded that the next best possible scenario also might be proven to be false eventually as well.

      Actually, I think most of astronomy and quantum physics is basically about what you can prove isn't true rather than what you can prove true mostly for the fact that we are limit
    • by glwtta (532858)
      Just seems like he wants it to exist so he's making it so.

      That's theoretical physics for you. If this catches people's imaginations, 50 years from now Phantom Matter will be treated as fact by most people, just like all the other made up "matters" we have now.
    • by XorNand (517466) *

      Sounds like science fiction. It's like proving something exists buy using something that doesn't exist.
      No, it sounds more like the US federal government to me.
    • It's like proving something exists buy using something that doesn't exist. I admire the guys imagination though. Just seems like he wants it to exist so he's making it so. IMHO science should be about working with the facts, which isn't what's going on here.

      Actually, science advances through the interplay between theory and observation (what you're calling "facts"). The general MO is that a theory (sometimes more than one) is popularized and people make lots of observations that either disprove or fail to disprove the theory. Whenever an observation contradicts a theory, then a bunch of people go scrambling for a new theory. However, there really is no requirement that a theory be confined to previously observed observation (which, to me, is more like "fitti

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tyme (6621)
      geek [slashdot.org] wrote:

      It's like proving something exists buy using something that doesn't exist.

      Actually, you can prove that one thing exists by using another that doesn't exist, it's called proof by contradiction [delphiforfun.org] and it's used all the time. The basic method is that you assume the existance of the oposite of what you are trying to prove and then show that the assumption leads to some logical contradiction.

      Now, the guy in TFA is not making a proof by contradiction, but you certainly can prove the existance of a re

  • The Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky bridge allows you to travel between universes. Just to mess with the timer.
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @02:39PM (#22283614)
    IANAP, but most "energy" variables can be thought of as the square of some other physical properties (kinetic energy is related to velocity squared, electrical energy is related to voltage or current squared, etc.) So to get "negative energy", it would seem that we need imaginary (as in the number i = sqrt(-1) ) values of velocity, voltage, current, etc. So now my brain hurts (and the real physicists on slashdot can enjoy ripping me to shreds or educating me as is their wont)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You don't even need to be a physicist for that - being an electrical engineer is enough. Things like imaginary current etc. *do* appear in electrics; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imaginary_part [wikipedia.org] for instance.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by bheekling (976077)
        Imaginary numbers are used purely as a mathematical device, and do not point to anything tangible or real.

        You could replace "i" everywhere with "sqrt(-1)" and everything would be the same. The fact that sqrt(-1) has no meaning in the physical world says nothing about using it to find a real answer; as long as the answer doesn't *contain* sqrt(-1). In fact, using imaginary numbers in calculations is very similar to using vectors.

        The concept of negative energy OTOH, is not a mathematical device, and is *expec
        • by Manchot (847225) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @04:13PM (#22284482)
          The set of complex numbers is no less "real" than the set of real numbers. Both are simply definitions arising from some set of mathematical axioms, usually those of an axiomatic set theory like ZFC. In fact, the definition of i as sqrt(-1) that you learn in high school is mathematically unsound: the correct way to define the complex numbers is as the set of ordered pairs of real numbers. When combined with an expected addition (a,b)+(c,d)=(a+c,b+d) and a funky multiplication (a,b)*(c,d) = (ac-bd,bc+ad), this allows you to define a+bi as shorthand for (a,b). (Note that i*i=(0,1)*(0,1)=(0-1,0+0)=(-1,0)=-1, as expected.)

          Neither the real and complex numbers are "real" in the sense that they physically exist, but are on equal footing in the sense that they represent real, physical quantities. Complex quantities simply appear when dealing with pairs of real quantities. Take the (complex) wavefunction representing a quantum state, as an example. Sure, you could formulate the Schroedinger equation as a pair of coupled differential equations, but why bother, especially when it's much more elegant to express it as a single, complex equation?
          • by smaddox (928261)
            Exaclty! Complex numbers are really just a separate dimension. You can solve all 2-D problems using complex numbers. OR you can solve them with vectors. It's really the same thing. In most cases complex numbers are easier.

            Of course then there are Phasors, which are something entirely different. They truly are just a mathematical trick.
            • Exaclty! Complex numbers are really just a separate dimension. You can solve all 2-D problems using complex numbers. OR you can solve them with vectors. It's really the same thing. In most cases complex numbers are easier.

              Sorry, but that's not true. Complex numbers are mathematically not just a separate dimension. The multiplication involved is in fact very special. For example, there are no 3-D complex numbers. The next "smallest" set of numbers like the complex numbers occurs in 4-D (the

              • by aminorex (141494) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @08:57PM (#22286370) Homepage Journal
                Cayley sedenions are a 16 dimensional field. But zero has divisors in sedenion algebra. Octonion multiplication isn't associative, though. Nor is quaterionion multiplication commutative. It just depends on what characteristics you require for the purpose at hand, really. Froebenius' theorem tells us that only real, complex and quaternionic algebrae are associative division rings over real scalars. But if you only need finite fields (as is often the case in practical applications), an Artinian ring is often iteratively solvable for any given application, of arbitrary dimension.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jonnyfish (224288)
      Negative kinetic energy happens all the time in quantum mechanics. That's what tunneling is. In classical physics, the total energy is E=T+V, where T is the kinetic energy and V is the potential energy. In tunneling, a particle can pass through a "barrier" where V>E, so that the kinetic energy E-V is negative.

      I still think the claims in the article are ridiculous though.
    • by rasputin465 (1032646) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @03:47PM (#22284242)
      IAAP, although not in this field (and actually I don't know anything about "phantom matter"). The idea of imaginary physical quantities isn't actually as forbidden as you might think. The best example I can think of are tachyons [wikipedia.org]. Non-physicists invariably hear about these particles in sci-fi (I seem to recall multiple references to them in star trek), but actually a number of current theories predict their existence. They are particles that travel faster than the speed of light, which means that their rest mass is imaginary. You need not worry, however, because they never travel slower than the speed of light. One example, supersymmetery [wikipedia.org], predicts a number of particles whose mass^2 is positive at high energies (read: very soon after the big bang), but goes negative at lower energies; hence their rest mass is imaginary and are tachyons.

      Less esoterically, in the realm of electronics, the electrical impedance of capacitors and inductors is imaginary. However, one could argue that this is just a mathematical trick to aid computations.

      I might also note (and probably other commenters have too) that Lawrence Krauss, who's mentioned in the summary, is the author of the famous The Physics of Star Trek [amazon.com], which is a great read.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by cathector (972646)
      imaginary numbers play fine at a surface level w/ lots of physics equations.

      for example,
      the reason we're often told an object can't travel at the speed of light is that it would then acquire infinite energy,
      because the energy (momentum) of an object is proportional to 1 / [sqrt(1 - (velocity^2 / the speed of light^2))] [wikipedia.org],
      so if velocity == speed of light, then momentum would be proportional to 1/0, aka infinite.

      however, notice that if an object is going *faster* than the speed of light,
      the nasty divide-by-zer
  • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @02:41PM (#22283636)
    "possible way to tell the two kinds of object apart"

    It's the beard. We've known this for some time.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Phantom matter? Why invent a new name for something that's already been thought about, called Exotic Matter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exotic_matter/ [wikipedia.org]? Probably should read the article... ;-)

    If you're really interested try this book by Kip Thorne:

    K.S. Thorne, Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy (W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 1994).

    • by tloh (451585)
      sounds about right:

      ....."phantom matter", would have negative energy and negative mass, causing it to exert a repulsive effect.
      It would be identical to the qualities that Kip Thorne postulated.
  • by Stanislav_J (947290) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @02:45PM (#22283670)
    We had "anti-matter," "dark matter," now "phantom matter." Jesus, is there anything substantial and real in physics anymore? As the years go on, physics starts to sound less and less like science and more and more like "Alice in Wonderland." Everything seems to hinge on things we can't see, or can't measure, or can't prove. Unless some of this mumbo jumbo can give me eternal life, make women throw themselves at me, or build a better and more luscious cheeseburger, I'm not interested.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ilikepi314 (1217898)
      Well hold on, anti-matter is real, as long as you mean in an anti-particles sense. Positrons (anti-electrons) have been observed and I want to say some team in Europe made anti-hydrogen atoms. I wish I had links, but I know I read about it.

      As for the rest, I pretty much agree with you.

      I had the wonderful opportunity to see a talk by one of the experts of (and I think original proposer of) dark matter. He said he was starting to feel dark matter is not real and that a possible better explanation of it can be
      • by rasputin465 (1032646) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @04:24PM (#22284560)
        I had the wonderful opportunity to see a talk by one of the experts of (and I think original proposer of) dark matter.

        That's not likely, or if it is true, it's not very relevant. Fritz Zwicky [wikipedia.org] first proposed dark matter (in it's current incarnation) back in the 1930s. However, no one else in the field started to consider this idea until the 1970s (Zwicky died in '74) when other independent bits of evidence started to come in that hinted at dark matter. At that time, people in the field were particularly mindful that the problem could be resolved by either dark matter or by modifying our theories. But as time went on, more and more independent pieces of evidence came in which addressed the same issue. Now, the problem is that if you want to account for each of these observations by modifying our dynamica/gravitational theories, you have to do a different modification in each instance. On the other hand, ALL of these observations are resolved by introducing dark matter. The door was virtually shut on modified theories with the analysis of the Bullet Cluster [wikipedia.org], which simply cannot be explained by modified gravitational theories. And actually, dark matter is not so esoteric; there are many current theories in particle physics that [independently] predict the existence of a particle that would meet the characteristics that we observe and would also be naturally produced in large quantities during the big bang.
    • We had "anti-matter," "dark matter," now "phantom matter." Jesus, is there anything substantial and real in physics anymore? As the years go on, physics starts to sound less and less like science and more and more like "Alice in Wonderland."
      I agree, but do keep in mind that antimatter was suggested by theory, and only a few years later the real stuff (antistuff?) was produced and measured.
    • I thought this "phantom matter" had already been referred to as "exotic matter" by people like Stephen Greene...
    • by Mr_Huber (160160) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @03:19PM (#22283948) Homepage
      Are you really that surprised? We worked out how most of the world around us works over three hundred years ago. We put electromagnetism to bed over a hundred years ago. We've known enough about atoms to make them go *boom* real good for over eighty years. Everything left to work on is far, far outside our day to day experience. Our common sense is calibrated for temperatures between about zero and one hundred C in a thick nitrogen/oxygen environment with a 1 g gravitational field. Of course it fails miserably when confronted by absolute zero vacuums or temperatures and pressures extreme enough to fuse matter or places with gravitational fields strong enough to capture light.

      Hell, I'd be more surprised if someone announced "Black Holes: Just Like Detroit" or some such.

      And as for that eternal life and women throwing themselves at you, we've already given you healthy diets and pheromones. Why not try meeting us half-way?
    • by SEE (7681) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @03:26PM (#22284016) Homepage
      Antimatter is something real, observed, understood, and which we can actually make, albeit in tiny quantities.

      Dark matter is a shim used to make our theory of gravity and the motion of the observed universe match.

      "Phantom matter", properly called "exotic matter" [wikipedia.org], is a purely hypothetical construct, not necessary to explain anything in the universe which has been observed; it's just something the laws of physics don't rule out.
      • by Mr_Huber (160160)
        Incidentally, dark matter was observed last year. Or rather, we've seen its effects via gravitational lensing with enough resolution to map its distribution in relation to some other objects. This in turn helps us say what it might be and what it definitely isn't. For example, the bullet cluster image demonstrates pretty clearly that it is stuff, as it has been stripped away from a couple of galaxy clusters in collision. This best fits the WIMP (weakly interacting massive particles) theory of dark matter
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by knowsalot (810875)
      Just for the record, anti-matter is real, has mass, kinetic energy, et cetera, is affected by gravity, and is all around us. Lots of antimatter particles are created in nuclear reactions, and also naturally when radioactive elements decay. It's really not that weird. The only thing that is a little odd about it is that when antielectrons or antiprotons get together, they create (pairs of) photons. But on the other hand, a photon can create a matter-antimatter pair of particles also.

      Dark matter, for

    • Anti matter has been detected an observed. It's pretty 'real".
    • by dissy (172727)

      We had "anti-matter," "dark matter," now "phantom matter." Jesus, is there anything substantial and real in physics anymore?

      Yes, atleast half of what you listed exists.

      anti-matter is real, has been observed, and created by man.

      dark-matter is real, and has been observed at least here on earth, thou only durring the 12 hrs out of 24 that it is no longer classified as dark.
      But if its there in those 12/24 hours when its not dark, and noone moves it, its clearly still there in the other 12 hours while it *is* dark-matter.

      phantom-matter was just made up by this guy in his theoretical guess, but since he has so little scientific backi

      • by Twanfox (185252)
        Dark matter doesn't specifically refer to 'unlit' matter or matter that doesn't produce it's own radiation. Keep in mind that, even after the sun stops shining on one side of the Earth, it still radiates in the Infrared range and is therefor not 'dark'. In order for it to be classified as baryonic dark matter, it would have to pretty much be so far removed from any radiating source (ie: between galaxies) that it would never absorb enough energy to radiate back.

        Most Dark Matter is thought to be non-baryonic,
    • by Xelios (822510) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @03:37PM (#22284142)
      Physics has been running into a wall for decades now. I think the problem is gravity, we still don't know what it is or how it operates. We say it warps space, but does it really or is that just a mathematical abstraction that lets us model its effects? Physicists have gotten something fundemental wrong, and it's leading them to shape ridiculous explanations for things we don't understand.

      That's my speculation, do I get an article in New Scientist now?
    • We had "anti-matter," "dark matter," now "phantom matter." Jesus, is there anything substantial and real in physics anymore?
      Don't forget supersymmetric(superpartners) matter and mirror matter, which may or may not be the dark matter.
    • by Tablizer (95088)
      We had "anti-matter," "dark matter," now "phantom matter." Jesus, is there anything substantial and real in physics anymore? As the years go on, physics starts to sound less and less like science and more and more like "Alice in Wonderland."

      They are going to run out of non-committal prefixes at this rate. Let's see what's left:

      * Invisible matter/energy (taken)
      * Non-active matter/energy
      * Extra fluffy matter/energy
      * Elusive matter/energy
      * Sneaky matter/energy
      * Peek-a-boo matter/energy
      * Non-married matter/en
  • by MOBE2001 (263700) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @02:45PM (#22283678) Homepage Journal
    Sounds more like crackpot physics to me. Only physicists can get away with crap like this. In any other field of science, this sort of voodoo bullshit would not be tolerated. I tell it like I see it. Mod me down and see if I care. ahahaha...
    • I've never heard it refered to as phantom matter, but the idea of 'exotic' matter has been around for quite some time and is the same thing.
    • by Kjella (173770)
      Phantom matter, dark matter, exotic matter, negative matter... it doesn't matter how fancy a name for it you find, the fact is that the equations don't add up. In most other sciences we'd cut it up. put it in a lab and study it until we figured it out. It's a bit hard to do that with the Universe, particularly when you're trying to figure out WTF happened at Big Bang or what goes on with these black holes. Once I thought we had things mostly worked out with classic + relative + quantum physics, it seems to
  • "Tales from a Parallel Universe"
  • Jean-Pierre Petit, ex director of CNRS, made a lot of mathematical proof of the possibility of negative mass and the implication. If interested, please read those explanations.
    http://www.jp-petit.org/science/arxiv/publications_recentes.htm [jp-petit.org]
    Link to :
    Bigravity as an interpretation of cosmic acceleration : http://www.jp-petit.org/science/arxiv/CITV_1_acceleration_english.pdf [jp-petit.org]
    Bigravity : A bimetric model of the Universe. Exact nonlinear solutions. Positive and negative gravitational lensings: http:// [jp-petit.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Jean-Pierre Petit, ex director of CNRS, made a lot of mathematical proof of the possibility of negative mass and the implication.
      For reference, Bondi showed that negative mass is not incompativle with General Relativity back in 1957: Bondi, H. "Negative Mass in General Relativity [aps.org]," Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 29, No.3, July 1957
  • While this all sounds "cool" and very "Star Trekish", I would caution on entertaining wild-ass theories without at least some theoricial backing.

    Negative matter, if it could exist, would be cool, though, because that would allow you to construct a perpetual motion machine of the first kind. For example, if you had a one ton ball of "regular" matter and a -1 ton ball of this "negative" matter, and were to hook them together on a fixed rod, you basically would've constructed a perpetual motion "engine" that

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by John Hasler (414242)
      > For example, if you had a one ton ball of "regular" matter and a -1 ton ball of this
      > "negative" matter, and were to hook them together on a fixed rod you basically would've
      > constructed a perpetual motion "engine" that would accelerate along the axis of that rod
      > without any expenditure of energy.

      That would no more produce acceleration than would the same experiment done with positive and negative electric charges. The two gravitational charges will just repel each other, producing tension i
    • by SEE (7681) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @03:59PM (#22284350) Homepage
      Where's the violation?

      The first law states, "The increase in the internal energy of a system is equal to the amount of energy added by heating the system, minus the amount lost as a result of the work done by the system on its surroundings."

      Accordingly, since no energy is being added to the system, its internal energy must not increase. That's fine, because in you example, the total energy does not increase.

      Energy is usually measured in joules. 1 joule is, reduced to base units, 1 kg * (m^2/s^2). So the total energy of your system is defined as:

      Joules = (1000 * [x^2/y^2]) + (-1000 * [x^2/y^2])

      Now, if x is 0 and y is 0, (the system is at rest), then the energy of the system, in joules, is

      Joules = (1000 * [0^2/0^2]) + (-1000 * [0^2/0^2])
      Joules = (1000 * [0/0]) + (-1000 * [0/0])
      Joules = (1000 * 0) + (-1000 * 0)
      Joules = (0) + (0)
      Joules = 0

      If x is 10 and y is 1, then the energy of the system, in joules, is

      Joules = (1000 * [10^2/1^2]) + (-1000 * [10^2/1^2])
      Joules = (1000 * [100/1]) + (-1000 * [100/1])
      Joules = (1000 * 100) + (-1000 * 100)
      Joules = (100000) + (-100000)
      Joules = 0

      If x is 500 and y is 2, then the energy of the system, in joules, is

      Joules = (1000 * [500^2/2^2]) + (-1000 * [500^2/2^2])
      Joules = (1000 * [500/4]) + (-1000 * [500/4])
      Joules = (1000 * 125) + (-1000 * 125)
      Joules = (125000) + (-125000)
      Joules = 0

      If x is 1 billion and y is 1, then the energy of the system, in joules, is

      Joules = (1000 * [1E9^2/1^2]) + (-1000 * [1E9^2/1^2])
      Joules = (1000 * [1E18/1]) + (-1000 * [1E18/1])
      Joules = (1000 * 1E18) + (-1000 * 1E18)
      Joules = (1E21) + (-1E21)
      Joules = 0

      Since 0J = 0J = 0J = 0J, no matter how fast the two-ball system accelerates, there is no violation of the first law of thermodynamics.
  • Is there any one else from the universe where rear view mirrors don't have a night position and Jack Palance died in the '90s?
  • It involves heating the object up and spinning it extremely fast. It only seems to work on small foot shaped items though...
  • Phantom matter can be observed but only for a limited time. A wormhole can only stay open stay open for 38 minutes, unless the O'Neill power booster is connected to the power supply to the gate.
  • by Dorceon (928997) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @03:37PM (#22284134)
    isn't it part of the same universe?
  • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @03:41PM (#22284180) Homepage
    This is interesting, but looking at the article, i can't see that it's much different from work that we published over a decade back in a paper where we pointed out properties of wormholes, and noted that they might be visible by the signature of the negative effective mass on the bending of light: Natural Wormholes as Gravitational Lenses [arxiv.org], John G. Cramer, Robert L. Forward, Michael S. Morris, Matt Visser, Gregory Benford, Geoffrey A. Landis. U.C. Irvine even wrote a press release about this paper [sff.net], which I've put on my website.

    It's a little hard to tell from this very brief article, but what he calls "phantom matter" is what other physicists call "exotic matter" or sometimes "negative matter," which violates one of the positive energy-conditions, and thus has negative energy (in some reference frame). Matt Visser's book Lorentzian Wormholes has a lot more technical details about the various formulations of the positive-energy conditions.

    • by argent (18001)
      I love the credits on that paper. I recognise John Cramer and Robert Forward as physicists and novelists, is Gregory Benford the physicist the same person as Gregory Benford the novelist?
  • This theory (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Z00L00K (682162) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @03:42PM (#22284188) Homepage
    This theory assumes that the difference between universes (or as they may be called multiverses) can be quantified.

    <Speculation>

    If not, if the difference is the same as time or length in a dimension that we aren't able to consciously manipulate or see, then it is possible that we all are floating in roughly the same direction, but since the differences are very small it's impossible to recognize if we are in the same sector as when we started our lives.

    All this since there are in theory dimensions that we can't see. Why they are invisible is a different question. It may be that we all are mentally and physically unable to "see" the dimensions or that they are "curled up" or "flattened" in a way that makes them immeasurable. This is just about the same question as if you are on a board (like our universe) on a completely friction-less surface where there is no perception of wind and no reference points. You have every perception of everything on the board, but you can't tell if the board is still or if it's actually drifting at the speed of sound with the wind. If you can't even "see" outside the borders of the board (the universe) you can't really tell if there are other universes out there.

    And it's not even possible to say if the laws of physics are general or specific for a universe. It may well be that the laws of physics are the same in any given universe, and that we just are inside a bead of glass. (watch the end sequence of Men in Black to catch this idea...). Just "infinity" is hard to catch up, but it's like living on the surface of a globe - where is the end of the world? And if you walk a straight distance on the surface of a globe large enough - will you ever come home again or will you even recognize that as home [hmv.co.uk]?

    I think that there is no straight answer, and that Keith Laumer [keithlaumer.com] in the "WORLDS OF THE IMPERIUM" may have one approach, and Robert Anson Heinlein [heinleinsociety.org] had another in "Number of the Beast" (among others), but I think that Douglas Adams [douglasadams.com] got really to the point in the statement "There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.". At least his statement will explain a lot.

    But this is still in the area of speculation, and I think that it's hard for the human race to get outside the universe. But I don't say that it's impossible - there may be a discovery around the corner waiting to happen!

    </Speculation>

    What is most important is that we try to keep our minds open - there may be a grain of truth in every theory that at first sight may appear ridiculous. Notice that the continental drift [geekculture.com] was considered completely outrageous [wikipedia.org] by many until the end of the 1950's. The continental drift is now a widely accepted fact (but there may still be those that doesn't accept it).

    Gandhi [brainyquote.com] once said "Nearly everything you do is of no importance, but it is important that you do it.", and this still applies. If you do nothing nothing will be accomplished, and you will be sure that you are unimportant, but if you do something you may have the force to provide a stepping stone for something that will prevail for generations to come.

    The End [romlist.com].

    • Basing your science on works of fiction is not a good thing.

      That's one problem with parlor speculation. It does not translate to the real world, regardless of the desires of the speculator. It should remain in the parlor.

      You can craft any number of fantastic imaginary scenarios you want, but they're meaningless and of no use whatsoever as analogies. Our universe is not frictionless, it has winds both worldly and solar and there are reference points; in other words, your parlor game remains just tha
  • If the door turns out to be an "ordinary looking" wooden door that opens on a beach, and if you hear odd sounds like "Did-a-chick? Dum-a-chum?" on the other side... well, it's better to stay here.
    • by Z00L00K (682162)
      Maybe a matter of taste, but I'm missing the reference.

      Either it's a Trek universe where you hear the communicators of a trek team (Kirk Here) or you are referring to something a bit more nasty.

  • A bit OT, but I just have to say that the "whatcouldpossiblygowrong"-tag makes me chuckle every single time. :))
  • by Whatsmynickname (557867) on Sunday February 03, 2008 @04:16PM (#22284502)

    when Ann Coulter endorses Hillary Clinton [youtube.com]. If that isn't being transported to some parallel universe, I don't know what is...

    • Wow! thanks for posting that gem, I had no idea she had said that. Now keep in mind she said she'll campaign for Hillary if McCain gets the Republican nomination. If he does, and if she keeps her word, I think that's sufficient criteria to mark the beginning of the apocalypse.
  • "What if you could find brand new worlds, right here on Earth, where anything is possible? Same planet, different dimension. I've found the gateway!"
  • 'US expert Dr Lawrence Krauss, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, points out that the idea rests on untested assumptions.

    Keep in mind, this the same guy who wrote The Physics of Star Trek and who recently was claiming that scientists consciously observing supernovae might shorten the lifetime of the universe [slashdot.org]. All that aside, Krauss is respected, but I think his statement above is a little bit of the ol'

    Pot->CallKettleBlack()

    method.

  • The SGC found one and window was put in area 51 after they where done with it. Later they found a other way useing the stargate to get to one.
  • Yes. [secondlife.com]

    "In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were REAL men, women were REAL women, and small furry [wikia.com] creatures from Alpha Centauri were REAL small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri." - HHGTTG
  • by J05H (5625)
    So, umm, anti-gravity only works in the dark?

    Go Pats!

  • by ThirdPrize (938147) on Monday February 04, 2008 @07:57AM (#22289484) Homepage
    black hole == lots of matter going somewhere but we don't know where.
    big bang == lots of matter coming from somewhere but we don't know where.

    I like to think that for each black hole in our universe there is a big bang in another parallel universe. the multiverse would be in a constant state of flux as universes grew, and then when enough balck holes had appeared, were sucked out to make the raw material for new universes. these in turn eventually draining into others.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (9) Dammit, little-endian systems *are* more consistent!

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