Dark matter axions possibly found near Magnificent 7 neutron stars

A new study proposes mysterious axions may be found in X-rays coming from a cluster of neutron stars.

Credit: D. Ducros; ESA/XMM-Newton, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
  • A study led by Berkeley Lab suggests axions may be present near neutron stars known as the Magnificent Seven.
  • The axions, theorized fundamental particles, could be found in the high-energy X-rays emitted from the stars.
  • Axions have yet to be observed directly and may be responsible for the elusive dark matter.
  • Keep reading Show less

    The incredible physics behind quantum computing

    Can computers do calculations in multiple universes? Scientists are working on it. Step into the world of quantum computing.

    • While today's computers—referred to as classical computers—continue to become more and more powerful, there is a ceiling to their advancement due to the physical limits of the materials used to make them. Quantum computing allows physicists and researchers to exponentially increase computation power, harnessing potential parallel realities to do so.
    • Quantum computer chips are astoundingly small, about the size of a fingernail. Scientists have to not only build the computer itself but also the ultra-protected environment in which they operate. Total isolation is required to eliminate vibrations and other external influences on synchronized atoms; if the atoms become 'decoherent' the quantum computer cannot function.
    • "You need to create a very quiet, clean, cold environment for these chips to work in," says quantum computing expert Vern Brownell. The coldest temperature possible in physics is -273.15 degrees C. The rooms required for quantum computing are -273.14 degrees C, which is 150 times colder than outer space. It is complex and mind-boggling work, but the potential for computation that harnesses the power of parallel universes is worth the chase.
    Keep reading Show less

    Are we living in a baby universe that looks like a black hole to outsiders?

    Baby universes led to black holes and dark matter, proposes a new study.

    Credit: Kavli IPMU
    • Researchers recently used a huge telescope in Hawaii to study primordial black holes.
    • These black holes might have formed in the early days from baby universes and may be responsible for dark matter.
    • The study also raises the possibility that our own universe may look like a black hole to outside observers.
    Keep reading Show less

    Michio Kaku: 3 mind-blowing predictions about the future

    What lies in store for humanity? Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku explains how different life will be for your ancestors—and maybe your future self, if the timing works out.

    • Carl Sagan believed humanity needed to become a multi-planet species as an insurance policy against the next huge catastrophe on Earth. Now, Elon Musk is working to see that mission through, starting with a colony of a million humans on Mars. Where will our species go next?
    • Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku looks decades into the future and makes three bold predictions about human space travel, the potential of 'brain net', and our coming victory over cancer.
    • "[I]n the future, the word 'tumor' will disappear from the English language," says Kaku. "We will have years of warning that there is a colony of cancer cells growing in our body. And our descendants will wonder: How could we fear cancer so much?"
    Keep reading Show less

    How ‘heat death’ will destroy the universe

    The expansion of the universe is speeding up—contrary to what many physicists expected. A "heat death" is coming, but it's not what you think.

    • The expansion of the universe is accelerating as the force of dark energy wins out over the pull of all the universe's collective gravity.
    • As every object in space moves farther and farther away from all other objects in space, the universe will reach a state of maximum entropy, and 'heat death' will ensue. As astrophysicist Dr. Katie Mack points out, heat death is not actually a hot phenomenon—it's also known as the "Big Freeze."
    • Around 100 billion years from now, the universe will have expanded so much that distant galaxies won't be visible from Earth, even with high-powered telescopes. Stars will disappear in a trillion years and new stars will no longer form. The "good" news is that humans probably won't be around to witness the machine as it breaks down and dies.
    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast