Let’s play a sport of unhealthy information, excellent news, unhealthy information.
Unhealthy information first: 2020. Actually all of it. Each second. Each waking second of 2020. It is grim, I do know. Bushfires, pandemic,. When will it finish?
However the excellent news: Apparently, scientists have found a parallel universe, identical to our personal. It is just a little completely different to ours although. On this mirror world, time runs backward. It is like a Benjamin Button universe. Which means they’re heading again to 2019, the nice ol’ days, proper?
Effectively, now extra unhealthy information: I am right here to spoil the parallel universe celebration. Scientists have not truly found a parallel universe, however you may suppose they’ve, primarily based on a number of stories from throughout the online.
In the previous few days a variety of publications have urged scientists “discovered proof” for a parallel universe the place time runs backward. These mind-bending articles posit that an experiment in Antarctica detected particles that break the legal guidelines of physics. All of the stories pull from the identical supply of data: A pay-walled report by New Scientist on April 8 titled “We might have noticed a parallel universe going backwards in time.”
On the middle of the report are findings from the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna or ANITA, an experiment maintained by researchers at NASA. It includes an array of radio antennas connected to a helium balloon which flies over the Antarctic ice sheet at 37,000 meters, nearly 4 instances as excessive as a industrial flight. At such a peak, the antennas can “pay attention” to the cosmos and detect high-energy particles, generally known as neutrinos, which consistently bombard the planet.
These particles pose no menace to us and cross by way of most strong objects with out anybody even noticing — some estimates counsel 100 trillion neutrinos cross by way of your physique each second! Hardly ever do they work together with matter. But when they do smash into an atom, they produce a bathe of secondary particles we will detect, which permits us to probe the place they got here from within the universe. ANITA detects neutrinos pinging in from area and colliding with matter within the Antarctic ice sheet.
Over time, ANITA has detected a handful of “anomalous” occasions. As an alternative of the high-energy neutrinos streaming in from area, they appear to have come from an odd angle, by way of the Earth’s inside, earlier than hitting the detector. These findings cannot be defined by our present understanding of physics — that a lot is true.
“The weird ANITA occasions have been identified and mentioned since 2016,” says Ron Ekers, an honorary fellow at CSIRO, Australia’s nationwide science company. “After 4 years there was no passable clarification of the anomalous occasions seen by ANITA so that is very irritating, particularly to these concerned.”
Though the New Scientist report was filed on April 8 — and the ANITA outcomes are nearly two years outdated — the speculation has solely just lately caught hearth. Ever extra pressing headlines have spurred its unfold throughout social media. “NASA uncovers proof of weird parallel universe the place physics, time function in reverse” reads one. One other says “Scientists might have simply discovered proof of a parallel universe.”
As a result of the New Scientist piece is behind a pay wall, most of the subsequent stories on the parallel universe are cribbed from the opening paragraphs and do not clarify the total particulars behind the discover, by which one of many scientists admits “there are one or two unfastened ends” for the parallel universe idea. There’s one other neutrino observatory on the South Pole, generally known as IceCube, which has been following up on the ANITA observations and suggests the usual mannequin of physics can not clarify these unusual occasions.
“In such a state of affairs you begin exploring much more excessive prospects,” says Ekers.
There’s a actually attention-grabbing science story right here, nevertheless it’s not the one you are being offered. The ANITA experiment is mind-boggling in its personal proper. It seems for “ghostly” particles that cross by way of most matter. It has positively detected one thing uncommon and surprising. There are many competing theories that are not explored within the fast information hits, like the concept the Antarctic ice might itself be giving rise to those anomalous occasions.
However there’s a lot we do not find out about neutrinos that astrophysicists and scientists are nonetheless making an attempt to unravel. “We’re completely positive that there’s new physics on the market to be discovered,” says Clancy James, a radio astronomer at Curtin College in Australia.
Leaping straight to “parallel universes” is just a little over-the-top, and there are much less excessive theories that would clarify what ANITA has detected. Greater than that, stories regurgitating this idea with out thorough examination complicate the general public’s relationship with science, which is already on shaky floor because of misinformation campaigns round local weather change and the coronavirus pandemic.
Once you see tales like these its good to recollect “the Sagan Commonplace”, an adage uttered by the famed astronomer Carl Sagan. It goes “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”
At current, we have an incredible idea however we lack the extraordinary proof to again it up.
What we do have, Ekers says, is “a considerably cheeky clarification … born out of the frustration of getting nothing else that labored.” He says that is “good out-of-the-box pondering” and a “fascinating” thought however not one which ought to be taken very severely.
So, I am sorry. We did not discover proof for a parallel universe. Luckily, if there is one, then over there this text does not spoil the speculation in any respect! It helps it! So please, direct all of your e mail towards the parallel universe Jackson Ryan.
No, I will not be taking questions.