Big Bang Antimatter Problem Deepens

first_imgThe most precise measurements ever show that particles and their antiparticles are perfect mirror images of each other.Protons and anti-protons are alike in every way; just don’t bring them together or they will annihilate each other. They differ only by the sign of their charges. Why this is a problem for big bang theory—and for the “standard model” of particle physics—is explained in Nature:The standard model of particle physics is considered to be the best physical theory that we have. It is built on symmetries and can describe all the experiments and observations concerning the known subatomic particles. However, the model includes some 30 free parameters and is not fully explanatory. For example, it cannot explain a profound mystery of physics and cosmology, the fact that there is no antimatter in the Universe. When matter and antimatter mutually annihilated each other following the Big Bang, any pre-existing symmetry between them was broken. Matter but no antimatter was left behind, and we lack a satisfactory explanation as to how this occurred. Research on the fundamental differences between particles and antiparticles may provide an answer. In this vein, Ulmer et al. (page 196) perform a high-precision, comparative study of the properties of protons and antiprotons.Their study wasn’t helpful. Ulmer et al. measured the charge-to-mass ratio of protons and antiprotons, and found them identical (except for charge) to 69 parts per trillion—four times the precision of previous measurements. It was hoped the very minute differences between them might produce a slight asymmetry that could account for the discrepancy. A slight excess of matter at the big bang, after all the new matter and antimatter annihilated itself, would remain to create the universe of matter we know. If there are any differences, they have escaped detection.The “mystery deepens,” therefore, Live Science says. “Matter and antimatter appear to be perfect mirror images of each other as far as anyone can see, scientists have discovered with unprecedented precision, foiling hope of solving the mystery as to why there is far more matter than antimatter in the universe.” Science Daily quotes the frustration of Ulmer at the result of finding no variance in the charge-parity-time (CPT) symmetry of the particles :“This is an important issue,” says Stefan Ulmer, who led the research, “because it helps us to understand why we live in a universe that has practically no antimatter, despite the fact that the Big Bang must have led to the creation of both. If we had found violations of CPT, it would mean that matter and antimatter might have different properties — for example that antiprotons might decay faster than protons — but we have found within quite strict limits that the charge-to-mass ratios are the same.“Thus “one of the most intriguing questions in physics” remains unexplained, Klaus Jungmann says in the review article. Surely a nearly equivalent amount of antimatter must have existed at the big bang, in the view of big bang cosmologists. Since the universe of matter we see today constitutes only 4% of mass-energy when theoretical dark matter and dark energy are considered, it implies that modern physicists and cosmologists only have a handle on 2% of reality.Is this evidence for intelligent design? Look at what Jungmann says:Symmetries have a central role in physics. A symmetry that holds across the Universe is an indication that a conservation law is at work. For example, adjusting a clock by an arbitrary time interval leaves all physical processes completely unaffected. A consequence of this is that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. But, when a symmetry is violated or a quantity is not conserved, a symmetry-breaking process must be at work.There does not appear to be any physical process that can account for the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe. A designer of a habitable universe, however, would know that a mix of matter and antimatter would make the universe uninhabitable (e.g., don’t shake hands with your anti-self), unless the antimatter were somehow segregated from the matter. Observing that kind of segregation, though, would violate the Cosmological Principle and amount to further evidence for design.This materialist conundrum has been around for decades, and shows no sign of resolution. It’s similar to the chirality asymmetry in biomolecules that has no material explanation. There is cause (a “symmetry-breaking process”) that can account for these asymmetries, though, and that cause is intelligence. Why not infer that the thing that “must be at work” is not just a process, but a Person?Some will cry “God of the gaps” at this suggestion. It is true that future work may uncover physical mechanisms for these phenomena. But how long do we have to wait? These mysteries have gone on for nearly a century now. Eventually, the alchemists had to change their paradigm, didn’t they? And what if the gaps keep getting wider over time? These articles do not give us confidence that physicists and cosmologists are converging on natural explanations, if the “best physical theory we have” cannot account for this long-standing mystery, is clueless about dark matter and dark energy, and needs 30 free parameters to work at all (see Best-in-Field Fallacy).At some point, we must logically conclude that “materialism of the gaps” is just as vulnerable to criticism as its converse. There is a positive argument for design that is not a gap argument. It says that from our uniform experience, we know of a cause that can separate out particles that in all respects are equivalent, especially when the result of the separation provides a function, such as habitability. That cause is intelligence. It’s interesting that we see that in Genesis 1:3, when God, by design, “divided the light from the darkness.” It sounds surprisingly prescient. Moses could not have known the significance of this statement. It suggests that it was revealed to him by the omniscient, omnipotent Creator.To appreciate the sheer emptiness of naturalistic theories about antimatter, watch this short video from Fermilab on YouTube. So much for the experts. The God hypothesis excels over their understanding like Something exceeds Nothing. (Visited 136 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Sasol gets women – and water – wise

first_imgThrough the Women Empowerment Strategy, Sasol’s Nolitha Fakude aims to create a safe and fulfilling work environment for women in the company. (Image: • Jacqui O’Sullivan Vice President: Group Corporate Branding and Communication Dusi Canoe Marathon +27 82 883 9697 • Celebrating 60 years of the Women’s Charter • Female refugees face particular problems • Mandela: a champion for women’s rights • South African research funding fourth-highest in the world • Top female chefs dice it out for Mzansi honours Shamin ChibbaIt is difficult to speak of mining alongside women’s rights and environmental sustainability. Mining is an adversary to both causes as it is a major pollutant and an unforgiving environment for women. But when Nolitha Fakude became Sasol’s executive vice president for sustainability and human resources in 2005, environmental and women’s issues became a major concern for the petroleum company.When Fakude first took up her post, she set out to clean up Sasol’s water use. It was under her eye that Sasol launched Water Sense, an initiative that aims to implement the company’s water sustainability policies across all its operations around the world.Under her leadership, Sasol had decreased water use from 151-million cubic metres in 2011 to 148-million cubic metres in 2012. It also recycled nearly 143-million cubic metres of water in 2012 compared to 128-million cubic metres in 2011. And according to Fakude, the company will further improve the way it uses water.Sasol had also teamed up with Emfuleni Municipality and sustainable development services company Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit on a project that saved 1-million cubic metres of water and created about 80 plumbing, water conservation and learner technician jobs created in the local community.The 49-year-old’s goal is not only to make Sasol an environmentally sustainable company, but also a company that promotes gender equality within the workplace. Nolitha Fakude, CEO Magazine’s Most Influential Woman in Business and Government for 2014. (Image: GCIS) Fakude has been involved in implementing three initiatives that aim to create a safe and fulfilling work environment for women in the company. The Sasol Women’s Network runs a number of mentoring programmes that provide women with the appropriate skills to excel in the company. Additionally, Sasol’s Women Empowerment Strategy has also helped women in the company to reach their full potential. The Women in Mining Development Programme is an ongoing attraction, growth and retention plan which focuses on the development of women across all levels of the business. As a result, women already occupy 22.6% of all management positions at Sasol Mining.Fakude’s involvement in bettering women’s standing in the mining industry earned her the top honour in the Mining and Petrochemical Sector category at the CEO Magazine Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards in July 2014.Despite the changes she has made at the petrochemical company, Fakude believes that there is still more work that needs to be done to ensure women are fully accepted in the workplace across all sectors. Speaking from the World Economic Forum summit in Davos in 2011, Fakude said that an economy cannot be run without women. She added that although South Africa has legislation that enables equality in the workplace, the results are not what the country had hoped for. “As we moved forward with Black Economic Empowerment the focus was more on black and less on women. Women and gender issues are very much linked to black issues. You cannot talk about black without talking about black women.”last_img read more

South African scientists depart on whale studying expedition

first_img2 November 2015 Scientists have set off on a research voyage to collect data on humpback whales between Dassen Island and Groenriviermond off the west coast of South Africa.Two ships, the Department of Environmental Affairs’ RV Algoa and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ FRS Ellen Khuzwayo, left on the expedition on 28 October.The team on the RV Algoa will focus on environmental sampling for analysis of the chemical make-up of the region – checking the available nutrients, and available food for whales. Researchers will record every whale seen along a pre-designed research path.Those scientists on the FRS Ellen Khuzwayo will be dedicated to biological sampling of humpback whales encountered in the region – collecting DNA samples, taking photographs of whale tails/flukes and attaching satellite tracking instruments in order to understand their movement and behaviour, both on the west coast and on their return to Antarctic feeding grounds.“Small cameras will be attached on selected whales using suction cups in order to have a whale’s view of the ocean,” said the Department of Environmental Affairs. “This will help us to identify the prey types on the west coast while supplementing prey sampling from the prey (food) sampled from the RV Algoa.”The department said it was important to understand the dynamics of the whales for population identification, abundance estimation and conservation management.“Humpback whales are a charismatic and acrobatic large whale species that typically visits the west coast of Africa every winter for breeding. Upon completion of breeding activities, they begin their 2 500km swimming journey to Bouvet Island, south-west of Cape Town, in late spring/early summer.”Tourist attractionTourists flock to South Africa to view two types of visiting large whales – the southern right and humpback whale. “These whales gather in South Africa for a feeding frenzy that scientists believe is unique to South Africa in the southern hemisphere,” the department said.“It is suspected that changes driven by climate change have influenced this ‘unusual’ behaviour. Although an estimated 500 humpback whales are found in South African waters, no evidence of breeding has been recorded off the west coast of South Africa, raising questions around their breeding locality.”The research is being done in conjunction with the departments of Environmental Affairs and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; the University of Pretoria’s Mammal Research Institute; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (USA); Oregon State University (USA); Aqualie Institute (Brazil); and invaluable contributions from BirdLifeSA and the Australian Department of Environment’s Marine Mammal reporterlast_img read more

‘Farmers must be given options to check stubble burning’

first_imgPunjab Governor V.P. Singh Badnore on Friday said it was important that farmers were given the option to adopt alternative practices to ensure proper disposal of paddy residue instead of resorting to stubble burning.Expressing concern over the environmental hazards caused by the practice, Mr. Badnore said stubble burning was not only damaging the health of people but was also causing loss of organic components in soil.“There is a need to promote horticulture, cultivation of fruits and mushrooms in a big way to break the usual paddy-wheat crop cycle in Punjab,” he said at a workshop here on stakeholders’ initiative to address crop residue burning in the State.Mr. Badnore called for formulating a comprehensive strategy, including generating mass awareness among farmers, and providing available technologies at affordable prices.“I appreciate the progressive approach of the Punjab farmers and their in-depth knowledge about the latest farming techniques. Incentives must be given to farmers who have already adopted other alternatives and are not burning straw,” he said.Suresh Kumar, Chief Principal Secretary to the Punjab Chief Minister, said the government will constitute a State-level advisory group to formulate some immediate action plan to check stubble burning in the State.“I urge experts to work towards reducing the silica content in straw and making it fit for animal consumption. States like Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, where there is a shortage of animal fodder, could be given the fodder at lower prices,” he added.last_img read more

‘Navel is the new cleavage for sexy Indian women’

first_imgKatrina Kaif captured a nation’s imagination with her tantalising performance in the wildly popular item song Sheila ki Jawani in December last year. The film, Tees Mar Khan, quickly faded into obscurity but Katrina’s sexy display of flat abs for five minutes might well have started, or at the very least cemented, a new fashion trend. For long, a voluptuous body and revealed cleavage defined what was sexy for the Indian woman. Now, thin is in. The navel is the new cleavage.Bollywood, always a quick assimilator of new fashion trends, was on to it. In March, early promotional posters of Rohan Sippy’s Dum Maaro Dum featured only the exposed midriff of Deepika Padukone. The film didn’t make a splash but Padukone’s navel baring performance in a remixed version of the iconic Dum Maaro Dum song drew millions of fans. Padukone soon emerged as the leader of the flat abs brigade, twirling her bare waist in Nescafe’s Rs 30 crore “Shake it, Baby” advertisement campaign. Padukone readily agreed to do a photo shoot for this issue of INDIA TODAY showing off her perfect midriff.Away from the big screen, the rise of the navel has led to the re-emergence of the sari. Clearly, stories about the death of the sari-pushed into oblivion by the ubiquitous salwar kameez, jeans, and trouser suits-were greatly exaggerated. And it is the younger crop of Indian fashion designers who have pushed the sari back into the mainstream. The 36-year-old Kolkata-based Sabyasachi Mukherjee is perhaps the best known of the lot. Along with saris, the midriff-revealing ghaghra-cholis have made a comeback. Designer Manish Malhotra’s Fashion Week collections regularly highlight low waisted ghaghras accompanied by short cholis. The creations of Sabyasachi, Malhotra and their fellow designers have found a market. At evening parties in Mumbai and Delhi, the very women you might have expected to sport a skirt and top two years ago now sport the old sari in a new avatar. It’s the new style statement.Our cover story written by managing editor Kaveree Bamzai traces the emergence of this new fashion trend. It is also a social trend. Indians have become more health and fitness conscious. Says fitness specialist Leena Mogre, “No one has a full figure any more. Everyone is on a diet and fitness regime.” In 2009, when Rujuta Diwekar, a celebrity nutritionist from Mumbai, who advised Kareena Kapoor on how to get a size-zero figure, published a book titled Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight, the first 20,000 copies sold out in less than a month. At least some people might have anticipated the rise of the navel well before Katrina and Deepika danced their item numbers.Curiously, the south Indian film industry has been navel gazing for a long while now. But there is a difference in aesthetics. In the south, they prefer some flesh around the abs. Says actor Priyamani who has worked in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada movies, “The size-zero phenomenon would not be appreciated down south.”To each their own. Variety is the spice of life and fashion.last_img read more