Exotic Physics

Visualizing Warped Spacetime

April 13, 2011

What on Earth — or off it — could inspire a physicist with the credentials of Caltech’s Kip Thorne to say “I’ve never before coauthored a paper where essentially everything is new. But that’s the case here.” Yet if Thorne couldn’t say that about some of his earlier work with wormholes (!), he feels safe […]

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The Pioneer Anomaly Resolved?

April 1, 2011

The fascination of the so-called ‘Pioneer anomaly’ is that it offers the possibility of new physics, an apparently constant acceleration on the Pioneer 10 and 11 probes with a value of (8.74 ± 1.33) × 10−10 m/s2 being something that we can’t easily explain. Equally useful is the chance the Pioneer anomaly gives us to […]

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A Bracing Look at the Unseen Universe

January 19, 2011

Yesterday I planned to write a review of Richard Panek’s The 4 Percent Universe (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), a fascinating look at dark matter and dark energy and the current state of our research into them. Panek is an excellent writer with an eye for detail and the human touch. He gets you into the […]

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Breakthrough Concepts: A Propulsion Overview

January 10, 2011

Speaking at last fall’s International Astronautical Congress in Prague, Tau Zero founder Marc Millis offered a condensed summary of the present state of the art in advanced propulsion physics, summarizing a variety of approaches and next-step questions from the book he co-edited with Eric Davis called Frontiers of Propulsion Science (2009). He’s now written a […]

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Matter/Antimatter from the Vacuum

December 10, 2010

New work at the University of Michigan, now written up in Physical Review Letters, discusses the possibility of producing matter and antimatter from the vacuum. The idea is that a high-energy electron beam combined with an intense laser pulse can pull matter and antimatter components out of the vacuum, creating a cascade of additional particles […]

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Gravitational Lensing Probes Dark Energy

November 12, 2010

Abell 1689 is one of the most massive clusters of galaxies known, making it a superb venue for the study of dark matter. That’s because the cluster, some 2.2 billion light years away, creates gravitational lensing that magnifies and distorts the light from galaxies far beyond it. Astronomers used Abell 1689 in 2008 to identify […]

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Earthly Windows into Dark Energy

October 22, 2010

While lamenting the budgetary problems of space-based missions like SIM — the Space Interferometry Mission — I often find myself noting in the same breath that technological advances have us doing things from the ground we used to think possible only from space. Make no mistake, we need to develop space-based interferometry for future studies […]

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Exploring Alcubierre’s Ideas in the Lab

October 18, 2010

by Richard Obousy Physicist Richard Obousy has long been fascinated with the Casimir force, dark energy, and the stability of higher dimensions. His dissertation at Baylor University, in fact, focused on the possibility that dark energy could be an artifact of Casimir energy in extra dimensions. Now project leader of Project Icarus, Obousy here takes […]

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Can the Pioneer Anomaly Be Explained by Inertia Modification?

July 30, 2010

by Richard Obousy Physicist Richard Obousy here takes a look at an intriguing new paper by Mike McCulloch, a researcher at Plymouth University. In addition to his work in theoretical physics and warp drive possibilities, Obousy is current project leader and primary propulsion design lead for Project Icarus, a joint venture between the British Interplanetary […]

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Time Travel: Ways Around Paradox

July 26, 2010

Time travel holds such perennial fascination that even though its relationship with interstellar issues is slim, I can’t resist reporting on new ideas about it. John Cramer’s time experiments seem stuck in limbo, but now we have new work from Seth Lloyd (MIT) and colleagues about one way out of the paradoxes time travel seemingly […]

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