Gheorghe Curelet-Balan Blog

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Breakthrough in Cosmology?

Today the mankind explores not only the deepest inner secrets of the microcosm (through the LHC) but also the far reaching perimeter of the Universe. The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) is a state of the art sophisticated tool that is looking into Universe's past by measuring the microwaves (Cosmic Microwave Background) patterns.

Observing and measuring are not enough though in science. Observational data are needed to validate theories and guide future theoretical research. The 5 year WMAP data that have just been released reveal interesting facts about Universe's composition and its evolution.

There is or not primordial non-Gaussianity (f_NL)?

This is the question that a group of physicists debated during a recent PI workshop on the Origins and Observations of Primordial Non-Gaussianity.

Eiichiro Komatsu thinks (video stream) that f_NL detection in the WMAP data will be a major breakthrough in cosmology since it will give us clues of what happened at the beginning of the Universe.

We cannot claim yet the f_NL existence. The 9 year WMAP data could confirm local f_NL detection.

His presentation in PDF format is available here.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

What Banged?

If you ask someone this question you get different answers depending on who, when, where, etc., you ask. Today though, any Ontarian for sure will give the same answer: a nasty snowstorm banged over Ontario.

If you ask the physicists today "What Banged?" you get also different answers. This is not because they are not thinking at the same thing (The Big Bang) but because in the last few years the usual view about the Big Bang started to change.

Neil Turok is one of the major players in this pioneering quest to find answers to the very fundamental question of mankind: what was before the Big Bang? Until few years ago almost any physicist believed that Big Bang came out of nothing. So questioning what was before looked ridiculous.

Last week during Neil Turok's PI public lecture I learned that the nothing before the Big Bang was something as result of a previous Big Bang. There are theories and observational data to support a cyclic model of the Universe. What an achievement for Neil to be able to answer at last his teacher question of, What Banged?

What exciting times we are living now when mankind is in a similar exploratory endeavors as the continents, the world and the solar system were discovered few centuries ago. Today's explorations are at a different scale and done with different means.

We are talking about the limits of the Universe about its shape or how far back in time we can go. At Universe's scale theoretical models and testing them with experimental data are the only means the mankind have to explore it. They are also the best means to appreciate the Universe as Neil Turok stated in his Credo at the end of the PI lecture.

I'm glad that Perimeter Institute (PI) and Waterloo is part of it. It was also last week when PI gathered physicists in Waterloo to explore "Novel Theories of the Early Universe".

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Tribute to a Canadian legend.

Jeff Healey is not anymore among us. His music discovery voyage came suddenly to a stop. I remember his jazz passion and the way he was feeling the music with his entire being during one of the PI Einsteinfest lecture. I remember his storyteller like soft voice and rock star performances during the Kitchener Blues Festival.

His big and generous heart covered like a maple leaf not only the Canadian soil but the entire world.

He raised above his limits proving that the human spirit is immortal.

A cruel and unfair fate stopped his star from becoming brighter but he will shine forever on the Canadian musical spheres.

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