How the Universe Came from Nothing

Why is there something rather than nothing? For starters, why do we think nothing is a more natural state than something? Physicists are answering old questions in brand new ways.

What's the Latest Development?


Physicists are changing how we think of empty space, i.e. a vacuum, to explain how the universe could have come from 'nothing'. Empty space, it turns out, may not be empty at all. One of the leading proponents of this view, cosmologist Lawrence Krauss, distinguishes between three different kinds of empty space. One, which the Greeks knew, is a space where nothing is seen to exist but which we now understand to be teeming with energy and magnetism. From there, things get strange, then they get incredibly strange.

What's the Big Idea?

A second empty space is vacant of even space and time. In this empty space, entire universes could pop in and out of existence. The phenomenon, known as the Casimir effect, accounts for the energy that bubbles up even in a vacuum. The third kind of nothingness, or empty space, is one in which laws of physics are absent. Here, Krauss appeals to the theory of the multiverse, "a nearly infinite assemblage of universes, each with its own randomly determined rules, particles and forces," representing the solutions to string theory equations.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

Videos
  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

(VL.ru)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
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China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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