Richard Feyman once commented, “If you think you understand quantum mechanics, then you don’t understand quantum mechanics”, and indeed, the phenomenon of quantum entanglement is strange to get your head around. The theory states that two particles can become entangled, and thereafter will always mirror each other’s properties instantly, even if they’re kilometres—or potentially lightyears—apart. This instantaneous coordination of information seems to rebel against common sense. Einstein dismissively called the theory “spooky action at a distance”, but it would be less spooky if the particles communicated information with high-speed signals, only giving the illusion of an instantaneous reaction. Physicist Daniel Salart tested this hypothesis in Geneva, passing entangled photon pairs through equal fibre-optical cables to villages 17.7 km apart. Identical of photon detectors revealed consistent entanglement—the particles exactly measured each other’s properties at exactly the same time. The high-speed communication hypothesis was disproved, because hidden signals would’ve had to travel at 10,000 times the speed of light, violating special relativity—no wonder Einstein rebelled against the theory. Physicists now favour the alternative theory of instantaneous communication, but it will be difficult to test and explain since we’re stuck in ordinary space and time. Dr Terence Rudolph describes the dilemma effectively: “Any theory that tries to explain quantum entanglement…will need to be very spooky—spookier, perhaps, than quantum mechanics itself.”
So the Higgs Boson discovery comes out of CERN and the Large Hadron Collider. This is a particle accelerator. Particle accelerators take small particles (atoms, ions, sub-atomic particles) and get them moving very very very fast. Then they smash the particles into each other or into targets and measure the energy and particles that result from the collisions. It is like the world’s fastest and tiniest demolition derby.
In high school I used a very small accelerator to demonstrate the Doppler shift with helium ions. One of the benefits of growing up near a national laboratory.
Explanation: Magnificent spiral galaxy NGC 4565 is viewed edge-on from planet Earth. Also known as the Needle Galaxy for its narrow profile, bright NGC 4565 is a stop on many telescopic tours of the northern sky, in the faint but well-groomed constellation Coma Berenices. This sharp, colorful image reveals the galaxy’s bulging central core cut by obscuring dust lanes that lace NGC 4565’s thin galactic plane. An assortment of other background galaxies is included in the pretty field of view, with neighboring galaxy NGC 4562 at the upper left. NGC 4565 itself lies about 40 million light-years distant and spans some 100,000 light-years. Easily spotted with small telescopes, sky enthusiasts consider NGC 4565 to be a prominent celestial masterpiece Messier missed.
Simulations of the Universe on the largest scales show an unexpected resemblance to nerve cells in the human brain, with galaxy clusters playing the role of the cell body and thinner filaments of matter linking them like axons. Galaxy surveys (such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, or SDSS) show that galaxies do cluster like our simulations predict…
These observations lend strong support to the theory that the Universe is built on a web of dark matter that has drawn in visible structures like galaxies and clusters. >continue<
image: Map of galaxy clusters Abell 222 and 223, with a filiment of dark matter connecting them. The contours and the blue color represent the distribution of mass, as determined by weak lensing.