"Deep Thought" - The Large Hadron Collider Could Prove the Existence of a Parallel Universe - A Daily Galaxy 2009 Top Story
One of the most fascinating discoveries of our new century may be imminent if the Large Hadron Collider outside Geneva produces nano-blackholes when it goes live again. According to the best current physics, such nano blackholes could not be produced with the energy levels the LHC can generate, but could only come into being if a parallel universe were providing extra gravitational input. Versions of multiverse theory suggest that there is at least one other universe very close to our own, perhaps only a millimeter away. This makes it possible that some of the effects, especially gravity, "leak through," which could be responsible for the production of dark energy and dark matter that make up 96% of the universe.
A huge volume of space that includes the Milky Way and super-clusters of galaxies is flowing towards a mysterious, gigantic unseen mass named mass astronomers have dubbed "The Great Attractor," some 250 million light years from our Solar System.
The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are the dominant structures in a galaxy cluster called the Local Group which is, in turn, an outlying member of the Virgo supercluster. Andromeda--about 2.2 million light-years from the Milky Way--is speeding toward our galaxy at 200,000 miles per hour.
This motion can only be accounted for by gravitational attraction, even though the mass that we can observe is not nearly great enough to exert that kind of pull. The only thing that could explain the movement of Andromeda is the gravitational pull of a lot of unseen mass--perhaps the equivalent of 10 Milky Way-size galaxies--lying between the two galaxies.
Some scientists are already looking beyond the Large Hadron Collider and onto the next generation of ultimega-atom-smasher. That's because scientists actually plan things and can concentrate for longer than four seconds, unlike the mass media which reports on them. One potential particle pulverizing system is a muon collider: the latest concept in the cutting edge that parts particles.
It might seems spoiled to be calling for another multimillion dollar megacollider when the latest one hasn't even started, but the LHC is no Deep Thought: they aren't going to turn it on and have the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything (eventually) tumble out. Whatever the results of the proton-pounding experiments underneath the Franco-Swiss border there are whole swathes of the high-energy particle spectrum still out of reach - and which we want to look at next will be determined by the LHC.
The muon collider concept combines exciting potential with challenging problems. Muons are only a ninth of the mass of protons and so can be accelerated to higher energies with current hardware (in fact, because they're made of fewer subatomic bits they can reach higher effective energies even with less powerful equipment). They're two hundred times heavier than electrons, but because they're less prone to radiate away energy via synchrotron radiation when being bent around curves by magnetic fields, they can be kept in rings at energy levels where electrons would require vast linear accelerators.
The challenges are just as cool: a muon's stable lifetime is only two point two microseconds, and when faced with the problem "they only hang around for a couple millionths of a second" the designers said "let's just accelerate them to close to the speed of light" - that way they hang around long enough (in our frame) due to relativistic time dilation. If that sounds improbable, it's already happened to you a bunch of times while reading this sentence: muons created by cosmic ray impacts classically couldn't survive long enough to reach the surface, it's only time dilation extending their life from our reference frame that lets them stream into the surface of the Earth, bubble chambers, and your body right now.
There are still extraordinarily significant challenges to overcome: how do you streams muons into the accelerator from the reactions that cause them, who wants to pay for something this big, and will they be able to overcome other accelerator strategies to get that funding? Only time, and awesome science, will tell.
Muon Accelerator http://www.nature.com.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/news/2009/091118/full/462260a.html