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A tear in the fabric of the universe could reveal the beginning of time


Does time have a beginning and if so, when? Finding an answer to this original question is one of the fundamental concerns of physics. A better understanding of space-time perturbations, called gravitational waves, can ensure that we get closer to a solution.

In the beginning there was Einstein again

It was in 1916 when Albert Einstein predicted gravitational waves as a result of his theory of relativity. It took nearly 100 years before the disturbances in space-time caused by the motions of very massive bodies were first discovered. What an exciting precedent for 2015’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Crop rash It promises to change our understanding of space and time in the long run.

“We can’t see the early universe directly, but perhaps we can see it indirectly by looking at how gravitational waves from that era affected the matter and radiation we see today,” said Deepin Garg, lead author of the paper. Phys Exciting new results using gravitational waves have been published in the Journal of Cosmology and Astrophysics.
Infographic: LIGO

It all starts with the sun

Garg and co-author Elijah Dodin of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) found a basis for their considerations in an entirely different field. Understanding how electromagnetic waves travel through plasma is essential for fusion scientists to understand the sun’s fusion process. The research team managed to discover an amazing parallel to the mechanisms of gravitational waves: “Essentially, we used the plasma wave method to solve the gravitational wave problem,” says Garg. In this way, Garg and Doden have succeeded in developing new formulas that take advantage of a property of perturbations in space-time: if these waves flow through matter, light is produced whose properties depend on the density of the matter. Theory: If this mechanism is sufficiently understood, gravitational waves could theoretically reveal hitherto hidden properties of celestial bodies in their path.

Theoretically, this property of gravitational waves could also be used to glimpse their origin — namely, the nature of neutron stars and black holes, causing them to collide. But consideration does not stop here. For Garg and his scientific group, observing space-time perturbations is the most promising means of obtaining information about what happened during the Big Bang and the early days of our universe. But what do Garg and his team need first? time! “We now have some formulations, but more work is needed to get meaningful results.”

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