Here’s a transcript from my talk at the SETI Institute in April 2016.
Seth Shostak: Alright I think we’ll get started. The audience is numerically small but morally large so that’s good. My name is Seth Shostak. I work at the SETI Institute and today speaker we’ll be talking about the Cosmic Microwave background. I cannot resist telling a very brief story when I was an Undergraduate just before the Crimean War. I was doing an experiment on the third floor of the physics, the second floor on the physics building with a buddy that involved the celestron which is a kind of microwave transmitter and we heard some noise in the parking lot behind the physics building. My lab partner and I went to the window and we saw my Undergraduate Advisor, a guy by the name of David Wilkinson with a couple of other Physicist and they were down there with a cork that had some electronics on it that had a horn that was pointing at the sky. We didn’t know what they were trying to do but we thought what the heck and we moved our experiment up to the window, aimed it at this apparatus and then I use the power supply to type out what have God wrath in Morse code. Two months later they announced the discovery of the cosmic microwave background and I had to say that for 15 years I thought that we had done that. Has it turned out we hadn’t. Our speaker today is Brian Keating. He’s a Professor of Astrophysics at UC Sand Diego’s Department of Physics, appropriately of a team of 21 students and post-dos develop instrumentation to study the early universe at Radio, Microwave and Infrared wave links. Doesn’t leave too much of the spectrum free there Brian. He has to 1:42 some case Western Reserve and Brown University. He did Postdoctoral research at Stanford and what’s 1:48 Postdoctoral fellow like Caltech before going to UCSD in 2004. This goes on for a while. This is a very accomplished Gentleman. He received the 2007 Presidential early career award for Scientist and Engineers at the White House from President Bush for a telescope he developed at the South Pole Research station called Bicep. Brian Co. leads the Polar Bear and 2:10 ray collaborations operating in the Atacama Desert of Chile. He’s also a Private Pilot. He flew up here today from UC San Diego. He said it took him 90 minutes. It’s better than South West. And he’s a Trustee of the National Museum of Mathematics and he has single and multi-engine instrument ratings so if you like to boom a ride. He’s a member of the Board of Directors of the Author C Clarke Centre for Human Imagination and the San Diego Air and Space Museum and he add that his Professorship at UC San Diego would not have occurred were it not for a complex series of events precipitated by none other than Jill Tarter of the SETI Institute and he’d be happy to explain this to you in private. Today however he’s going to explain to us in public how the Cosmic Microwave background can constrain such phenomena as magnetism, elementary particle masses and even not to stop short the origin of the universe itself Brian Keating the Twisted universe-the cosmic quest to reveal which hand is up.
Thank you Seth, thank you for reading that exactly has my mother wrote it for you. Quite a pleasure to be here on our Earth Day. I had a delicious lunch thank you Bill Gates for providing lunch today. It’s quite delicious and I saw it was sponsored by Earth Day, it was in honor of Earth Day so keep that in mind. I’m going to be talking and referring back to just what would you serve on Earth Day. Think in the back of your mind, we’ll be discussing these interesting questions appropriate for my visit here today.
So as Seth said I’m a Cosmologist, not to be confused with a Cosmetologist as my mother’s friends think and then they rapidly lose interest after. But I was thinking why would they invite a cosmologist to the SETI Institute. This is an August Institution with many 4:01 shall we say that have gone on to search for extra-terrestrial intelligence is quite awesome. I’m just a cosmologist. I spend most of my time looking at noise okay so why did they bring me up here. What was the reason for it? I thought of Lev Landau who use typical fashion, very ambulant Russians you know they’re known for their humor. This is as much of a smile he ever had apparently so they’re not known for their humor.
So you said Cosmologist are often in error and never in doubt. I started thinking who maybe that’s the reason they invited me up here they want to see the error of our ways. But then I started thinking about what you guys do here at the SETI Institute and it’s quite amazing you guys are always in doubt and you always know that there’s some sort of error that’s lurking in the background. The question is how do you determine which is the actual signal that you find from some extra-terrestrial intelligence which is noise. And so perhaps that’s a point of commonality between the researches that I do.
So my question is do we understand the types of Laws that govern Cosmology and Physics, we think of ourselves in error and we quantify that error now a days. And the question is how do you quantify errors and the limitations of your knowledge? We say error analysis is the quantification of your ignorance you know. It’s not the kind of thing that really makes Freshmen really happy when you tell them that I’m teaching a class in error analysis right now and I started thinking about what’s the fundamental equation. It’s been called the second most important equation in all science. And of course it’s Frank’s famous equation, the Drake equation here which is comprised of many, many different terms.
And in Physics there’s a well prescribed mathematical prescription to assess the impact of the individual errors in each one of the individual terms. Combining those measurements together results in a final answer which will have its precession and accuracy limited by the precession and accuracy of the terms that go into this equation itself. So I started thinking about this and perhaps the drake equation can be said to be accurate. In other words you can get an accurate estimation but you don’t know what the true answer is so perhaps it’s not very precise.
So I started thinking about that and perhaps why we don’t see evidence for aliens. Fermi famous paradox where are these aliens. So one answer to this paradox is that we don’t see them because they don’t want us to be known of them to be known to us. We don’t want to make ourselves known to you okay so I can’t reveal my alien origin. But maybe the aliens so called like when you go to the zoo. I don’t let my 5 and 3 year old knock on the window of the baboon container. It’s not going to be safe for them so aliens might be here but just not making themselves known so that made me think well maybe this is the reason they invited me all the way up from San Diego right, the world famous San Diego Zoo.
So I said this is great now I understand why they’re here. They want to get some information on San Diego from a local and I looked into it maybe I can combine 6:55 with the san Diego zoo and estimate according to the zoo hypothesis how many people might be at the San Diego zoo on a given day. So I put in my Fermi thinking cap and start thinking about that and made some calculations, my kids are home on spring break right now giving my wife a lot of trouble while I’m up here but I calculated what’s the attendance on a typical spring break, threw in some terms and came up with a number of 8000 of the attendance at the San Diego zoo today so I looked it up…What is the annual attendance?
And in turns out the annual attendance at the San Diego Zoo is the most popular zoo in America. It has an annual attendance of 3 million people divided by 365 you get about 8000 the number of people that visits the San Diego Zoo every day so I felt great. But then I reminded myself what I tell my Freshmen in my Air Analysis class that you cannot summit a number to me as a physical measurement that doesn’t have an error associated with it. It’s meaningless to say that the attendance is some number without ascribing your best estimate of what the uncertainty might be in that number.
So I went through and put in the uncertainty just randomly and statistically and some systematic uncertainty as well and i came up with an uncertainty of plus or minus 8000 okay. Maybe this is explaining the zoo hypothesis is pretty accurate. But I want to talk about what the quest is in cosmology. And the quest today is to really minimize, it’s an avoidable introduce errors into our measurements but you want to minimize them as much as possible. I’ll leave and illustrate some connection between there story that Seth told which I never heard before but it makes a lot of sense.
This interference that he purported on none other than David Wilkinson who is my PhD advisors, PhD advisor. He was my grand advisor. So basics of Air Analysis. If you look up what is the definition of Air Analysis sometimes there’s a diagram of this guy throwing darts at a dart board and then the question is how close or far does this person get on this dart throw that he makes, how close or far does he get from the 8:53 assuming that’s what he’s aiming for okay. He’s in a bar, he’s trying to win some money maybe and the scatter about that value and the dispersion of the individual dart throws is some countrification of precision.
So if you go to the source of all scientific knowledge known to human kind; Wikipedia and you go there and you look up air accuracy and precision you see these two diagrams here and I’d like to submit that perhaps the Drake equation is accurate in a sense that it has an average if you would have readily average the pattern on the left you would get a close value, a value that’s close to what the true value is or the intended value which is the center of this 9:28. Of course the grouping has a large dispersion so we’d say it’s imprecise.
Now the pattern on the right I fundamentally disagree with Wikipedia. I’m sorry if you’re listening out there but Wikipedia has this wrong in my estimation. These measurements here I hope to convince you are bias or the result of a bias, a systematic error. And I’m going to go through a little bit of the history of how these treatment and analysis of systematic errors lose 9:53 in the research that we do today.
So I call this a brand new error. I come from New York so my accent comes out sometime if I really turn it on. There are three different types of errors and three typical types of errors that are somehow exemplary in this field of science are statistical errors, systematic errors which I’ll spend a lot of time talking about and blunders. And I go through all three of these different types of errors and give you some flavor for what it’s like to actually analyze these because we don’t spend that much time in the cosmological experiments that I do trying to determine the value of the parameter or value of the number that we’re interested in.
We want to see how significant that value has been measured to. Anybody can estimate somebody’s height and say I know for certain your height with a 99.999% confidence you are below 100 meters tall but that’s not very interesting. But, if you say to somebody you’re exactly 2 meters plus or minus 1 micron looking at them you want to know how did they make that measurement, how did they get such high precession on that measurement.
So systematic error as well really occupy most of my time but I do want to touch up on blunders. Blunders, my wife would attribute this with my favorite type of error and I want to talk about blunders. But the blunders in some sense are secondary in importance. I’m going to convince you hopefully that they’re very rare, they don’t occur very often. When they do they’re somehow pretty obvious that they occur and they can be removed.
One type of noise that can’t be removed is noise from the environment, from the detector system that you have and just the fine amount of time that you have to make measurements in your lifetime. So there are measurements that you can do that will improve with time so not too many things improve with age but taking measurements. For example if you took as the director of the Hubble space telescope did about 15-20 years ago and pointed this magnificent machine to a patch of sky that’s no bigger than this laser pointer spot. So if you go outside this looks big to you in the audience but outside it only subtends a tin amount of area as that little tiny laser pointer so I spot about a quarter of a degree or less.
And yet every single speck of light in this image with about four exceptions, there’s a star here, a star here, a star over here. Every other speck of light there is a galaxy an island universe unto itself with perhaps 100 billion stars in it so then you can ask the question this is basically some people call this cosmic wall paper okay. So anywhere you look in the universe is represented by effectively the properties of this picture. So now you can determine. How many galaxies are there in the entire universe and then you can multiply that by the number of stars and calculations like that can be a prized in a sort of cosmic Drake equation if you like. So we can look at this image and know that there’s about 5000 galaxies in this image and then to estimate how many total galaxies there are in the observable universe.
You just have to count up how many laser pointers high spots there are so I think we have the room for 2 hours so we can actually do, no we’re not going to do that. But, if you do that you come with a number of about 100 billion galaxies with a large uncertainty about 30% uncertainty so it could be 130 billion galaxies. It could be 7 billion galaxies. Each galaxy can have anywhere from 100 billion, maybe 500 billion, maybe even more stars within it. So it’s quite amazing to think about these numbers and that’s how we do it but they’re really just estimates. That’s not precision cosmology.
So here we are, we’re here at the beautiful Microsoft facility in San Ozden, Mountain View and I start to think about well how do you do a measurement with one of the fine products that Microsoft make. So let’s say you are trying to measure this surface tablet and you want to see what its length was or say its width was you’d use a ruler. Every one go to their desk, pull out a ruler and take a measurement. So you might ask yourself what are the uncertainties in the measurement that you do and you’ll find that they’re uncertainties from doing a measurement itself which you could improve upon but then they are uncertainties associated with the tool that you’re using to make the measurement.
So what’s the biggest this could possibly be, the maximum value length of this thing? Maybe it’s 9.3 cm in length. What’s the minimum possible length? Just look up from here it starts at 0 roughly goes up to about 9.3 and maybe it could be as small as 9.1, we’re talking about millimeters here of uncertainty.
So that means a reasonable scientist would say this thing is about 9.2 cm long and we have an uncertainty in that of about 1 mm. Okay that’s not bad and actually these types of errors if you just kept doing a whole series of independent measurements yourself or you got 4 people to do this measurement and they were doing it properly you’d reduce this error from 1 mm to half a mm so that’s the way errors work. You don’t win as the number of times you make the measurement or independent measurements, you win as the square roots. So there’s no free lunch, you actually can’t win linearly with the number of measurements that you do. So that’s the statistical error.
But there’s a systematic error in that there’s some resolution, there’s some uncertainty fix by this ruler. And if you use something else, let’s say you use this device here on my chromater which is very, very much more precise maybe you could get this a factor of 10 or maybe even 100 times more precise. So you say it’s 9.2 cm with an uncertainty of maybe 10 microns or 100 microns, something like that. And then let’s say you had a really big budget. Bill Gates comes down and says don’t use this micrometer, use this device here. This is the one the Two Arms of the Ligo Experiment, $690,000,000 experiment just detected gravitational waves in February.
This device can measure things as small as say 1 part in 10 to the 20th of a meter so incredibly accurate measurements with extreme precession and that’s how you can measure reverberations of space time that are a trillionth the diameter of a proton. So this is just fantastically different type of tool to make a measurement. And so in doing so you have to ask what are the limitations of your measuring device, those are systematic errors.
Blunders are something different. So I make a lot of blunders and you people I’m sure have heard of blunders in chest. How many of you have ever read a chest box score and you know that the symbol for a blunder is a question mark? No body? The guys at Apple got this just last week. No just kidding.
The blunders can occur in chest, not just in chest. In chest they’re not about a question mark and brilliancies are denoted by an exclamation point. Sometimes you have a brilliant blunder. And the title of this book by Mary Oliver, it’s a wonderful little book about all these different blunders that led to amazing insights from Einstein to Darwin and these blunders turned out to be brilliant so that’s a question mark and an exclamation point in your chest box score if you’re keeping score at home.
They don’t occur very frequently, they’re pretty rare but sometimes they can lead to certain discoveries and we’ll talk about that in a little bit. And so I was thinking about what kind of blunders might possibly be made around the SETI environment, not that you guys are going to make any blunders. So last week 16:41 just announced that there’s going to be this $100,000,000 star shot, break through star shot where they’re going to send 100 million Microsoft Lumia Hazard. They’re going to send something into space, little cameras go into space and they’re going to go to the star system Alpha centauri.
So I’m an Astronomer. Most Astronomers they don’t know what constellations are which but I know for sure that Saint Taurus is a Southern Hemisphere constellation but beyond that I don’t know that much about the constellation Saint Taurus. I know the Alpha centauri is the brightest star in the constellation Saint Taurus so that’s how it gets its name. This is what it looks like I’m sure you can recognize it anywhere. Those 2 stars are like commodities. Any star looks alike as long as it as the same temperature roughly.
So here’s how it’s denoted. The Greek letter Alpha denotes the brightest star in the constellation Saint Taurus. Now what if milners lumia and they’re flying off into space over here. What if instead of getting the coordinates for Alpha centauri someone gives them the coordinates for Saint Taurus A. Also in a constellation Saint Taurus. Saint Taurus A looks like this it’s a very powerful black hole driven galaxy that’s emitting cupreous amounts of energy across the entire electromagnetic spectrum and it’s about 10 million times further away so unless 17:54 wins the breakthrough life cries and extends his life by a factor of something like 200 million years.
He’s never going to see it if they make a blunder and go off in the wrong directions still within the constellations Saint Taurus only a few deep degrees away. So you can make a blunder and that would not be a brilliant blunder of course. I started thinking a little bit more about this. What if it succeeds? So you always have to think positively in the SETI business and the cosmology business or else you get too depress to get out of bed.
We already sleep during the day as it is as Astronomers so you got to get out of bed. So what if they’re successful? What if the breakthrough prize announce last week, what if that’s successful and they get into essentially a communication contact with an alien civilization around Alpha centauri. It will be the news of the century if not all time. So let’s say they get there and they find an alien species there. This is the famous grey hair alien. I know some of you know who this alien is. And let’s say they establish a two way communications link. So you have the Morse Code a very simple, they can’t necessarily send pictures but they can send bits, 0s and 1s very efficient Morse Code type communication.
So they start communicating that’s a Lumia right there, that’s beautiful device on sale downstairs for $1.99, pick one on the way out. So let’s say you establish two way communication with this alien. So Richard Feynman had a wonderful lecture in his Feynman lectures on Physics he talks about what would happen if you did have the situation of communication with an alien species basically starting with nothing. Starting with the ability to transmit numbers so he starts off by saying you might start off talking and he doesn’t in his New York accent.
He might start off saying tic tic two, tic, tic, tic three, and by that they learn numbers and they learn prime numbers and you can teach them all about math. And then you can start teaching about higher order languages. So you teach them Microsoft visual basic or something. You teach them a universal language like that then you could really communicate with this creature and start talking about, talking to them and start planning when you’re going to meet. When they’re going to send up their 100 million 19:55 and come to visit us here on Earth.
So let’s say they do that and they want to come to Earth and they want to know a little bit. We always say that the Sciences progress from Physics, Chemistry. Dirac said all of Chemistry is described by his equation as famous Dirac equation little bit egotistical and a lot of Biology described by all of Chemistry and so on and then everyone has envy of the other disciplines. We have Math envy us Physicist but let’s say eventually you proceed to Sociology. How do these cultures interact with one another.
So the alien ask you well what do you guys do when you greet and you say well we shake hands. How do you do that? Well you stick out your right hand and Feynman says wait a second. The` alien then say what are you talking about, how do we know what right and left are. You told me that you look symmetrical, we look symmetrical too so we understand symmetry, reflection symmetry how do you describe. Think about how you would communicate to a distance species using ordinary language. I don’t care English or whatever. Which side of your body is your right hand? It’s very difficult to think about that.
Of course Feynman’s a very brilliant person so he’d started thinking about how you would actually do that and he said that there’s actually a way you could do that. There’s a law of nature that says under certain operations called discrete symmetry, transformations of different properties of physical equations. The laws of Physics do not change. So if you take an electron which has a negative charge and you replace it with a positive and drop them both in a gravitational field they’ll fall up the same rate. So we say that object, that system has charged in version symmetry. It doesn’t matter the physics that you’re observing, doesn’t depend on the charge of the particle except for gravity.
We use to think that all the Laws of Physics were like that but it turns out that there’s a defect in more of the laws called the weak nuclear force. The Weak Nuclear Force can actually distinguish and I urge you to read Feynman’s beautiful description. But he described that you could make an experiment and you could tell the alien to make your experiment out of these 21:50 60 atoms which always emit an electron in the direction that’s consistent with the left hand angular momentum of this object.
So the electron is going off to the right here and you never see this direction even in a mirror. If you reflect this thing in a mirror you’ll never see an electron, a cobalt 60 atom that’s rotating and shoot an electron in the right handed direction. So he divides the way using microscopic Physics, using the physic of the nucleus to break the symmetry between left and right. So if you stood in the direction facing this angular spin of the electron, of the cobalt 60 nucleus. Then that will determine where your left side, it turns out where your left side is and say go to the other side and now you know how to shake hands with the alien.
But it turns out that this whole system has another compound symmetry. If you reflect across a mirror and you change the charge of the electron you can into a positive, you can actually get the same type of behavior upon reflection of itself. So he says very beautifully if you look at the alien, if the alien is made of anti-matter then the alien after everything you told him he has anti cobalt 60.
He will stick out his left hand and Feynman says do not shake it because you will both evaporate so he said be very careful about that. I want to tell you later on today a more dramatic and much worse scenario that awaits human kind. So stay tune and as a consequence of this violation not at the cobalt 60 level with these friendly aliens but perhaps on the scale of the entire universe and that’s the cosmic universe.
So be careful if you ever meet somebody and they stick out their left hand, you have to be very careful. Okay let’s go back to Wikipedia, let’s go back to this dart board example here. So you are playing darts and you throw the darts and you realize that there’s a strong wind blowing from your upper right to your lower left and it’s causing a deflection of your beautifully thrown darts okay. So we’re back to this example over here.
So you get this pattern over here. I clean that this is the result of a systematic error. There’s something in the environment, there’s a wind coming in and it’s blowing your hand of course, your dart off coarse and theoretically you could correct that. You could move the target, a lot of us like to do. We like to move the target. Playing with our kids we have to win the race or you could make another experiment. You could take an amatory, you can take a barometer. Go down to the airport, ask them what’s the wind direction and speed and then you could correct your throw based on data from another measurement.
So the way to remove systematic errors is to force yourself to do another measurement which maybe similar to the measurement you’re trying to do and then subtract the results of that measurement from the original measurement and that would then correct this wind blow dart pattern back to the center. That is the way that you treat systematic errors. We talk about blunders, we talk about statistical errors which you can just take more data and these are systematic errors. You have to build a whole new experiment or part of a new experiment.
Another way to call this correction of systematic errors is calibration. When I give this lecture in my Air Analysis class Physics 2CL at UCSD there’s 300 students in the audience and they say you know remember the NASA, the Echo it’s 1961. Do you guys remember it? No but some people in this audience probably do remember it okay. I know for sure that’s Seth remembers this project.
So Echo was really the first Internet, so for you young people the Internet really started at this transcontinental communication with radio waves. This is really the first example of that. They launch an enormous balloon that was metalize. They shock beams of radio waves from Caltech from JPL actually in Pasadena reflected off of this enormous were and then they collected those radio waves in the 7 meter home Dell antenna in Northern New Jersey. And this is the device that was used later by Panzias and Wilson to detect the cosmic background radiation, I’ll talk about today.
But back in the 1960s the early 60s this was the Internet so if your sister was using the modem a couple years ago that was pretty bad if there was something wrong with this balloon and it turned out there was it lost a lot of energy by scattering it turned out not to be very efficient so they upgraded it. And thankfully so because the upgrade actually led to the winning of the Nobel Prize by Panzias and Wilson.
So Echo looked like this and here’s a very sad story that I have to tell you about the consequences of not propagating errors. So it’s a very mundane subject but it actually cost this poor Scientist his Nobel Prize. So this is Edward Ohm, no relation I think to the famous Ohm of resistance fame. But this is Edward Ohm using the exact same 7 meter 20 foot antenna that Panzias and Wilson would later use.
And here is paper from 1961. This is the year after Frank Drake made the first attempt to measure SETI in the 21 centimeter regime of the electromagnetic spectrum. I’m not going to go through the details. I do, do it for my students so that they can later win a Nobel Prize and thank me in Sweden but the way that he did this he added up for radio astronomers you will know about antenna temperature.
He added up all the different terms that he thought could contribute to the signal that he measure. He measured a signal of 22.2 with an uncertainty of 2.2 kelvin. It’s very suspicious to see all those deuces wild but that’s actually not the issue. What he did wrong was he found that the highest temperature that the telescope could have possibly been seeing was about 18 kelvin. The different actually 19 kelvin.
The difference between 19 kelvin and what he observed 22 kelvin was 3 degrees, famous number 3 degrees kelvin that he later would ascribe not to the cosmic background radiation but from something that is almost entirely unheard of. He ascribed this access 3 degrees kelvin to the fact that these errors don’t add together in quadrature. They don’t partially cancel each other out but they all added together linearly.
So you added only the plus value. So you added .2 to 1 to .65 etc.. so it’s as if you’re saying I know I made a mistake and I know the exact way that I made a mistake and so I’m just going to correct for that by subtracting the maximum value. When he corrected for it he gets a value of 21 degrees plus a -1 degree. So this is exactly almost consistent with his original measurement. So the whooshing sound that you might be hearing now is his Nobel Prize.
What happened immediately afterwards is these fellows Panzias and Wilson used the exact same antenna. And what they did, they said no maybe that’s not just a conspiracy that all errors add together positively. It’s as if you measure the link to the surface and you say it could be as big as a 9.2 plus 1 millimeter or 9.2 minus 1 millimeter but every time I do the measurement something is causing it to only add up to be the pluses. If you have a 50/50 chance sometimes the urge will be too small, sometimes the measurement will be too big and it will tend to cancel out.
He said no for some mysterious reason it didn’t. They did a separate measurement where they had this beautiful calibration system where they compare the microwave sky to a temperature that’s very close to microwaves namely that of liquid ileum. They got a value when they actually go through it an error that’s 3 times smaller so .3 degrees kelvin. They could not get rid of this excess and they finally called it this is the cosmic microwave background radiation although they were very reserved in their paper title. This is the paper that won them the Nobel Prize. This said the measurement have excess antenna temperature of 4060 mega size.
So it’s a very kind of burying the lead so to speak but they do talk about this companion paper by Dicky and my grand adviser and Seth’s friend David Wilkinson ho had later see the hand of God or whatever Seth called it, what have God wrath in the heavens. So they went on to win the Nobel Prize. So let’s talk a little bit more about this cosmic microwave background because Reeds are attempting to use the same tool that Panzias and Wilson used to really put the nail on the coffin for the study state models of the universe. We’re attempting to use that for something in some ways could be as important in a certain sense because it could really undermine the laws of nature as we understand them. I’ll explain that.
So here’s Panzias and Wilson, they’re in New Jersey and they’re looking not at the Echo balloon anymore, they launched the satellite called Telestar which is much more powerful that could amplify the signals rather than just reflecting them. So that freed up the 7 meter telescope for them to go back down to New Jersey and examining this glowing afterglow of the Big Bang which we later thought about. No this is not what the sky looks like in Northern New Jersey, sorry I’m a New Yorker I can’t resist.
But it’s actually what your eyes would see if you were looking at microwaves, if your eyes could be sensitive to microwaves you see a uniform glow in all directions in the sky that’s basically un-polarized and doesn’t change from day to day, hour to hour, year to year, decade to decade. It’s a true cosmic background type of radiation.
Now the race was on soon after this to see if there are any cracks in the armor right. Newton back in the 16, 1700s realized that if the universe was completely homogenous, if the same matter distribution was present everywhere in the universe you could never have a planet form because they’d be nothing to break the symmetry so you need something to break the symmetry to have a planet here. So if this is the oldest light that there is, a fossil relic of the Big Bang you expect it, it has to have some inhomogeneities and we call them.
And in fact it does the Nobel Prize in 2006 was awarded to George Smooth and John Mather for discovering that the microwave background does indeed have tiny fluctuations in it. The fluctuations in the microwave background, this is the way you’d see them if you got rid of the 3 kelvin background or at the 1 part and 10 to the 5ft. So tens of microkelvin on top of a 3 kelvin background embedded perhaps from Earth in the 300 kelvin temperature Earth.
So here’s what you would see if you were this omniscient deity looking down, not an alien. If you were looking actually at our universe, at the surface of last scattering and you could see microwaves not stars you would see this globe, this line across the center is our galaxy and then stay tune for more information about that. But away from the galaxy you would see these fluctuations and they exactly are the imprint of fluctuations in matter and energy primarily dark matter and how it affects light and that traces the formation of structure in the universe from 380,000 years after the Big Bang till today.
So this is an amazing, this is the oldest light in the universe and to give you an idea of how hard it is to measure these fluctuations a bolding ball, not my bolding ball. But a bolding ball has a smoother surface relative to its radius than does the fluctuations of the microwave background compared to the average temperature of the microwave background. It’s just astounding and this is a measurement by the plank satellite that’s just phenomenal exquisitely precise and accurate.
So here’s the plank sky map, this globe flattened out and pressed flat and ironed down to whatever extent you could do that with around the object. There’s another property of photons. Photons have three major properties. They have a spectrum, they have a distribution of how many are coming to you, intensity and they also have polarization. So the polarization in the microwave background can trace two different types of phenomenon. Actually three as I’ll describe.
One type of phenomenon that I can trace are the property of matter and energy during the early Apox following the Big Bang. There’s another thing I can trace which are waves of gravity like the Ligo experiment measure although that was from local sources. They can measure early primordial gravitational waves what’s called the gravitational wave background that has not been discovered we thought with our Biceps experiment that perhaps we’d seen evidence for it a little over 2 years ago we later retracted that claim and really realize that it was coming from emission from this 33:44 orange stripe across the center here.
But the race goes on for that in some ways it’s hotter than ever to search for gravitational waves. What we are trying to do now with the experiment I’m going to talk to you today is to measure the properties of the polarization of the CMB Cosmic microwave background and how these photons may have been afflicted by Physics that is representative of a new type of symmetry violation that we never observed before.
So what we do is we make a map of temperature and we make a map of the swirling pattern of polarization called B-modes and it’s really similar taking these polarizers and pointing to a part of the sky and rotating the direction that you’re viewing and if you twist you polarize with respect to each other you can see that right angle is exactly cancel each other out and then add a right angle or 45 degrees to that you’ll have some transmission and once you go 180 degrees you’re back to complete obscuration.
So we build detectors that look radically different than these types of polar that I have up here but that’s all Jerry Brown my boss will pay for. The polarize sun glasses that you might have do the same thing filtering out one type of polarization state rejecting the other one so that you get less intensity going to your eyes. What’s really cool is that we actually are able to show in this very auditorium that human beings. We know that we have five senses but my claim is that we have six senses so there’s a six sense and it’s not these guys over here.
This is a great movie but it’s actually if you look at them like this, if you look at Bruce Willis like this there’s a phenomena in your eyeball that allows you to detect polarization of optical light. Most people don’t know about this, I didn’t know about this for many years. But it’s actually a beautiful phenomena called Haidinger’s Brush. So it’s a property of the pigment in your eye, in your retina, your macula that causes one polarization state to propagate with less impedance if you will or to propagate with less diminution and so there’s a quadra polar pattern you can see there’s sort of a bluish lobe here and this greenish yellow lobe over here.
You can actually see it on a sunny day opposite to the sun. As anyone ever seen it before? So if you look at this pattern I’m going to take it away and there’s still some persistence and the screen is slightly polarized from reflection of the projector. I’m going to take it away instantaneously and then see if you can still see it faint outline of it. Sometime I see the compliment of it where it’s yellow I see blue. I’m going to take it away, goes away instantly trust PowerPoint can do that.
So it goes away instantly and you can still sort of see it if you stare I’ll do it one more time. So if you look at this Haidinger’s Brush, remove it and it’s gone you can sort of see the outline of it. Did anyone still see it? So that’s prove that you actually have a sixth sense so you could tell your friends you should star in the next movie what’s that guy name M. Knight something I can’t pronounce.
So what I’m interested to do is to use polarization sensitivity, not of our eyes but of this magnificent machine that’s located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. It’s actually the highest telescope that does cosmology in the world. It’s had 17,500 feet. So it’s about half the atmosphere of the Earth. It’s not like another alien kind of landscape. I shouldn’t say that here cause you guys know about…I shouldn’t say that here because you guys know about real alien landscapes and what I’m going to talk about today is not the Big Bang inflation gravitational waves that you might have heard about recently. I’m not going to talk about the other properties of nature that we can contaminantly measure such as magnetic fields. I am going to talk about something called Lorentz violation.
So I said that the Drake equation is the second most important equation in Science. The first most important equation in all Science of course E=MC sq. And everybody knows that even if 99.9% of people don’t know why they know it and don’t know what it means. Suffice it to say that that law of nature by Einstein is built on a bed rock foundation of something called LorentzSymmetry. It just means that essential the laws of Physics or everywhere homogenous and there are everywhere isotrophic. They are the same everywhere and they look the same everywhere. If you turn your head upside down they look the same. If you look in your mirror and you’re both falling in a gravitational field you’re going to fall at the same speed as your mirror image will…
So that’s called Lorentz violation symmetry. It’s the bedrock of basically all the laws of Physics. This is live from my friend and it shows Newton’s laws electricity and magnetism gravity. They’re all predicated on different really foundational pillars of quantum mechanics, Lorentz symmetry and Curve space time. So with what I’m trying to do now is look for maybe there’s a break in the symmetry. Maybe it do fall slightly faster or slower than your mirror image. But our tools have two large systematic error to reveal and glean information about them.
So I’m going to propose a test that we’re undergoing now to actually reveal if the universe has a hand in this to it. And that would be a signature of violation of this symmetry that really most Physicist believe in this law of Lorentz violation symmetry more than they believe that their dog is real or something like that. So it really underpins everything. What we’re going to attempt to do is use the oldest, longest travel more photons in the universe. There’s nothing more prime evil than the cosmic microwave background. Those photons were born 380,000 years after the Big Bang which itself was 13.8 billion years ago.
So there’s a cute connection for the cognizant. I’m not going to go into the actual math behind it. I’ll show you the consequences of it. But if you take ordinary Maxwell’s equations and you assume for the moment that the universe may not respect this Lorentz violation symmetry then you actually will get a different speed of propagation for what’s called left hand circular polarization versus right hand. I’m glad I did that usually I go left hand and right hand but I did it right this time. It doesn’t look right to you but it looks right to me. And that will have the consequence of rotating the plane of polarization.
And this type of term has a general name for it if you add this to it. It turn Simons. These are two Mathematicians working at UC Berkley just up the road across the bank and Jim Simmons later would turn out to be the biggest patron of the research that I’m doing today. So it’s just a cute consequence of his post PhD work that led to a prediction in pure mathematics that then has duplicability not only to the Physics that I study but also String theory. So it’s quite amazing that this pure mathematical conjecture has relevance in the real world of Physics and Astronomy.
So what would be the effect the observable effect of this churn Simon’s is cosmic bio-engines. It would mean that if you started off with a vertically polarized photon over here. Say this is the surface of last gathering then the photons propagate through medium, through vacuum which we think is a vacuum and then they come out slightly rotated. So this is exactly like this whole crystal of calcite insulin spar. This device here if I shot this laser and twisted it you’d see that the polarization of light coming in on this side gets rotated just a couple of degrees and it leads to two different refractive indices. So you see a blur when you see this object, you’ll see one induct refraction comes out at one slightly different angle than the other so the images look blurry. It come up afterwards you can see them.
We’re looking for this not in a little crystal that’s a sinometer thick. We’re looking at something that’s gigaparsec thick namely the universe. So these ancient photons have travelled the longest distances. So even if there’s a tiny amount of violation of Lorentz violation. Perhaps it will accrue to a size scale that we can measure but only if we have a good calibration of the polarization.
Now it turns out there was actually a claim that this was found in 1997. I remember this, I was in grad school. I was like oh man everything I’m doing has been scooped you know. I’ve been scooped Dickie said to Wilkinson and maybe I’ve been scooped as well. So here’s the New York Times April 1997 almost exactly 19 years ago this week. I like to look at old copies in New York Times front page and see what’s still in the news. It’s just a pet little hobby of mine when I’m up early in the morning with my new born.
It’s about Benjamin Netanyahu who was there. This is like a time translation symmetry of peace in the Middle East which will never happen. So you know in 20 years from now there will be another headline Netanyahu fights with this guy or this guy. There’s a Serbian leader you sometimes hear about that. There’s Newt Gingrich, he was just running for office not too long ago. Pataki is running for office so it’s pretty interesting there’s a time translation in headlines of the New York Times. So let’s zoom in on this article here and they actually claim that they saw this rotation, this twistedness that was defining an access in the universe from the constellation Akila to the constellation sextons.
And this made a huge amount of news and people got really excited about this until they found out Shawn Karl down at Caltech now made a reputation that said you just did your Air Analysis wrong. You basically didn’t do the propagation of errors, the same thing that led to Holmes on doing except in his case he lost the Nobel Prize, you never had one to begin with so these poor guys Raulston they lost their Nobel Prize as soon as Shawn Karl did the Air Analysis properly. He found it was totally insignificant, no co-relation, good now I can still win a Nobel Prize for this. That’s fantastic.
And yet do we still think that there’s a reason to look to this phenomena of cosmic rotation. Is there a reason to look for violation of Lorentz symmetry? The answer is yes. So these are eminent Physicist here. These are people that are Edward Whitney reported the smartest man alive and then there’s me but there’s also other people Michael Paskin up the road at Stanford. These are famous Physicist David Spergel, NASA Academy members all so it’s quite an amazing thing to think about. This is still extremely active.
So if you see the same paper that Shawn Karl published is for his PhD thesis or right after his PhD in 1990. It sat dormant for many years and then that front page of New York Times came out. People got really interested in it then he refuted it. It dropped off again and now the citations are really rolling and it’s ramping up so this is like gold now. This is like if my Internet stocks were still doing that I’d be happy.
So nowadays people are really interested in eminent people but the question is how do you go about doing it and not make a blunder like the other guys did. Not be embarrassed by making a simple blunder. And so I’ve listed ways to do it. I’m not going to get into all of them but I’m going to talk about the two that we’re using which is called the polar bear experiment.
One of the attributes of the Polar bear experiment is to look for waves of gravity. One of them is to look for the massive neutrinos but the third and related aspect of it or attribute of it is that it can look for violation of parody because it has the properties that make for a very good polar remitter. Polar remitter is a telescope that’s polarization sensitive. Much more so than your eye is. Your eye is sensitive at the one part in a thousand perhaps. This is sensitive at the 100% level. It’s extremely sensitive to polarization. It’s a very complicated instrument built by a huge team, my team in San Diego in UC Berkley are the primary players in this.
The test layer is also the meeting in Berkley just last summer. We get together, we have Scientist and almost all seven continents at one time last year. We even had people in an article. So it’s an amazing global collaboration. It’s much bigger than Panzias and Wilson you can tell but that’s because the states are at least as high. Maybe higher in some sense.
We’re located here in the Atacama Desert, the Sarah Tokar which the mountain and northern Chile 5200 foot elevation about half the atmosphere on Earth. We go there, if you look at the sky this is just an ordinary photo shop. Most of my pictures are photo shop but this one is not. This shows the quality of the darkness of the sky on a good day when you’re looking just say about the 10 or 15 degree above the horizon level so you folks in the Silicon Valley Astronomical society will know that if you went out in the Bay area and looked at 15 degrees it would still be almost whitish blue. Here’s it’s inky black and let alone we look straight up through the minimum amount of atmosphere.
It’s a wonderful place, it’s an alien landscape and you have to wear oxygen because you are above half the atmosphere of the Earth. The telescope looks like this so a CMB photons been travelling for 13.8 billion years and it decides to end its life the last few nanoseconds are crashing into this mirror here, crashing into another mirror that you can’t see here and then going into a detector system comprised of detectors that I brought along with me that are cooled down to .25 degrees above absolute 0. These detectors are super conductors that means the property that they have 0 resistance to electrical flow when you get them below their critical temperature.
It makes for amazing thermometry, they make the most sensitive thermometers that there are. These things can tell the difference of a fluctuation in power of a billionth of a billionth of a watt in one second. They are amazing fantastically sensitive built by Adrian Lee up at UC Berkley. And so you see what this thing looks like. It’s basically a big vacuum chamber that has a cooling system that can get you down almost to absolute 0. These are the balomoters and how they work you put them in this regime where they are partially like a metal, partially like a super conductor with no resistance and you put them right here where a tiny change in temperature will lead to a huge change in resistance. They’re wonderful thermometers.
Like sticking your hand outside you could feel where the sun is but you couldn’t tell where the moon is so your hand has some sensitivity to infrared radiation and exact same fashion of these balometers measuring these type of intensity.
We published a paper recently on a type of this cosmic biofringes called antisothpic cosmic biofringes and this actually led to limits also in primordial magnetism which is a fascinating issue onto itself that I don’t have time to talk about but essentially get it for free. We go out looking for waves of gravity from inflation, we get limits on primordial magnetism and Lorentz violation so it’s the ultimate free launching some ways.
Let me go the map for a couple more minutes because I know you guys are much better than those Google guys are no. Suffice it to say the brilliant theorist have looked through all the different ways you can break the model of Physics that we call the Standard model and they classify these things according to how they violate or respect Lorentz symmetry. So this is a paper by Costaleki and Muse. It’s a very long paper with a 135 page long equation. It’s pretty cool.
I want to point out this biggest systematic error from measuring things like rotational polarization are things that are indistinguishable from it. In other words if there was a piece of calcite in front of our telescope we couldn’t tell that the Universe is rotating the polarization vectors or there’s a piece of calcite there or we miscalibrated our telescope. So our job is to make very, very accurate and sensitive measurements of what’s called polarization orientation. And polarization orientation is very difficult to obtain for many, many technical reasons. But actually the biggest reason is that there is no astrophysical source that gives you a known polarization direction.
When we look out we can use Jupiter to calibrate how much temperature emission there is in the microwave background but there’s no such source that tells us this is exactly due north or astronomical north on the celestial sky, no such thing. And even if there were it would change with frequency. It wouldn’t be observable from all locations on Earth. It would have many, many deficiencies.
Suffice to say we do use all these different devices. Here’s me at the LA, we use the crab nebula, everyone’s favorite Polstar but really we found that we have to make our own. We’re going to have to make our own twisted calibrator in order to discover if the universe has a handiness to it because if you look out into the universe…If it have this parody violation it would be like not wearing rose colored glasses. It would be like you had glasses made of this calcite and everywhere you look things were rotating sound pretty special.
I’m at the center of this reference frame about which all polarization vectors are rotating that’s very unlikely. But the limits that have been tested so far are limited due to the poor calibration availability that we have. So we have to make our own. So it’s an interesting thing like Panzias and Wilson built their own calibrator. Again I’m not comparing myself but the work that we’re doing is really trying to build a very, very precise calibrator to remove the bias that we know will be there.
Once we remove it what’s left will be the cosmic information and then we let nature decide what the actual answer is. We can only do our best to calibrate. S we have two different versions of this. One I call Cal Zeppelin and it’s a proposal we submitted a couple months ago to the NSF and this is a small little pay lo that goes on a balloon and sprays not out, not looking up it’s looking down on our telescopes in Chile in our neighboring telescopes the Act telescope, there’s a Class telescope there and also the Olma instrument is not too far away. That’s the world’s most expensive astronomical observatory, 1 billion euros.
And this will allow us by flying a balloon 5 kilometers above ground level. So we already have 5 kilometers we go up another 5 in a Substratosphere balloon and we’ll broadcast a completely known polarization orientation to our ultra-sensitive detectors. The ultimate goal that we have is to build a cube set. I know that there’s people in the audience involved with space flight and things like that. We’re looking for opportunities, we’re invited to submit a proposal for a cube set. These are small satellites of cubic footer so approximately and this will be the ideal place to put it.
You put a satellite in orbit. It would be shining down a polarize microwave source and overtime every observatory that does CMB research is about 15 of them will be able to observe and calibrate their polarization orientation over the course of about a month and by doing so we can get this Physics that constrains primordial magnetic fields and Lorentz violation for free. You don’t have to build a whole new experiment to go after this. You do have to build a better calibration system.
The name of the game nowadays in my field after the Bicep two situation is we want to remove forgrams. So 2 years ago Bicep reported a detection which look like it was a primordial gravitational wave background signature. We later found that after you do a proper accounting Raphael Foulger and others, David Spergel that if you remove the best estimates for foregrounds which the Biceps team we did a long with the plank team you actually get a signal that’s consistent with there being no gravitational waves. So we don’t know if there are gravitational waves, we don’t know if they’re violations of Lorentz either but it behoves us to look for them.
And as I said we do know that magnetic fields in the early universe exist so that’s one form of known science that we can go for as well as neutrinos but for technical reasons we know neutrinos have mass and this type of extension to this type of experiment called the Simon’s array will have the ability to measure it. So we’re now building a new experiment that uses slightly different detectors than these. These are little swirling sinuous shaped antennas that I’ll show you. We just installed two more Polar bear style telescopes in the Atacama Desert funded by the Simon’s Foundation, Jim Simons, the same Mathematician who 60 years ago nearly published a paper that was purely mathematical looking at certain variance topological variance in Math so it’s really kind of cute to me that our work is now named after the Mathematician who thought about an idea that’s an allied field.
So we built these telescopes. They were actually designed here in San Ozane by General Dynamics Satcom Systems which is just up the road and DF Fortuna and this telescope is designed and then we had them fabricated in Italy, they get shipped to the Panama canal. And just 2 weeks ago the first of the 2 new telescopes to make 3 total. The first one was installed. Now we have all 3 installed so this is the original one that made many, many discoveries on the Cosmic Microwave Background and then there are the mirrors have been mounted, the secondary and primary for the north and southern arms of this mini array. It’s not an antifrometer but it will have incredibly un-match sensitivity. And this picture was taken just this past week by my friend Mark Devlin.
The enabling feature of this technology in the way that the field is now moving is to get rid of cosmic foregrounds to cosmic signals produced by our galaxy. This emitting globe. This band of microwave emission is primarily in the microwave regime that I care about dominated by the emission from inter-telestar dust grains, just in our galaxy. Dust in the lens as you might think.
So the name of the game is to build an experiment. To remove a systematic error you need to build a separate experiment. We’re doing that by building detectors that unlike Bicep 2 are sensitive to multiple frequency simultaneously. And the way that we have done that our 54:41 as the post dock on Polar Bear and Simon’s array at UC Berkley has along with Gabriel Ribes at UC San Diego invented this fractal antenna.
So it’s a fractal. Any antenna that has a fractal type pattern or spiral or anything that’s just not a dipole will have extremely wide bandwidth performance. We combine the wide band with antenna with filters and balometers and we can get two microwave colors simultaneously in two polarization states. So we have 4 balometers per pixel on this focal plane array as opposed to just a single color into polarizations on the original generation of experiments.
So this is an enabling technology. It’s been copied by friends of ours at the University of Chicago on the South Pole telescope. Here’s what the telescope receiver looks like. It kind of looks like a DSLR camera, like a gigantic 2 meter long DSLR camera that weighs over 1000 kilograms and actually cost almost exactly a 1000 times a cost of the good DSLR camera. I’ll leave you to figure that out. But we need it to get to 76,000 balometers all cooled to .25 degrees of absolute 0. So it’s really amazing technology, a huge team is required, big optical surface. This is a lens it’s half a meter in diameter just incredible technology that we had to invent from scratch.
As I said our friends and collaborators at the University of Chicago are building up their own instrument that uses our design for detectors. It’s called South Pole telescope third generation. Here’s a nicer looking transparency that they made. They have a big focal plan array as well and the key is that we really need to get rid of this dust contamination to bust dust. We need to have multiple frequency simultaneously.
So where does this leave us we’re deploying this array now we have friends the Act telescope. We have about 10,000 detectors also working on this type of Science a little bit different design than ours. We have 3 telescope with 23,000 detectors. South Pole have several tens of thousands of detectors. The goal is a Department of energy sponsored 100 million dollar class instrument creatively and government ease language only a politician would like that.
Department of energy stage 4 CMB experiment. So it doesn’t have a really sexy name like Bicep. I invented Bicep so I’m proud of that name acronym. Polar Bear is a good one, Simons array not really an acronym but it’s quite impressive. It will have the ability to do all sorts of Science but what happens going back to Feynman’s question.
Let’s say you shake hands with the alien you don’t explode, he puts out his right hand, you start talking and then he starts wanting to know more about you. You’re pretty handsome. You are very symmetric except you have a left hand so do we but we’re completely symmetric on the inside. What do you guys look like on the inside, what is it like to look at you internally if I could see through you and I start to think about that. What happens if the zoo hypothesis is really true. What if there is a zoo hypothesis and now they say well now that you shook hands the secrets out.
Unlock the lock at the zoo and now we’re in the Microsoft global kitchen downstairs for Earth day so I thought this is interesting you cook the whole planet and it’s really delicious. But what if they were doing that, what if these aliens now they want to see what’s inside of us okay. Maybe they want to know what we look like inside. So I said if we discover this reality to the universe has handedness to the universe it could define something that would tell you which side is left or right without the messiness of a cobalt 60 ultra-cold experiment.
You just do a microwave experiment, you get the access that the universe points in and you tell them which side is which. Now they start asking what do you look like inside. So you said well our hearts on the left. Okay what’s the left? It’s where this reality goes into the body that’s the left side of the body. Interesting they’re asking for a friend right. But then I started to think back to the San Diego Zoo. The reason I was invited here publicity for the San Diego zoo and I thought back to when I took my 3 year old there the last time but I noticed that if you look on the repository of all scientific knowledge Wikipedia it says that animals always go for the internal organs.
So we go down stairs to the global kitchen and we get the flame on, we get the muscles but animals are smarter they go for the nutrient rich heart, the liver, the spleen. That’s where the good stuff is so that maybe that’s why these aliens wants to know what’s inside of us. It could be a sinister, they want to serve us and I thought about that a little bit more and I did some research online. I was looking at this image from ET if you guys have seen this image, he’s got an apron on and I saw on the back this really frightened me. I saw on the back it says, I’ll be right here with his finger on our hearts so be careful people on Earth Day and beyond please be careful and if we do ever meet these aliens let’s be careful how we shake their hands and what we tell them about how we look on the inside.
Okay the take aways I’ll leave up on the board and think twice before you go out to dinner. Thanks very much.
Questions and Answers
Question: I was wondering why the dust would generate so many microwaves. I didn’t think dust by itself would be microwave radiator?
Answer: Yeah it’s a very good question. So the question is why did the dust signature, why is that such a confounding signature for the types of astronomy that we’re trying to do? If you look at the properties of little tiny dust grains what’s called a magnetic dipole moment so they can behave like little magnets. Our galaxy is theming with magnetic field structure so there are super bubbled up and blown up and shot off charge particles cosmic rays etc… that are propagated throughout the galaxy. So there are magnetic fields in our galaxy. There are tiny pieces of dust grains in the galaxy and they can get aligned just like the long chain molecules in this polarize here. They can get aligned the same way. so if you went and zoom in on one of the molecules here it’s not so big but it makes 100% polarize or doesn’t it so it’s possible for microscopic dust grains as long as they have a magnetic moment and they can get spun and not lose energy over a long periods of time and exist in a coherent state. They can actually mimic the same swirling patterns that the B modes from inflationary generated gravitational waves would produce, exactly the same. There’s another type of emission called synchotron emission which is due again to the galectic magnetic field where you have electron spiraling in the galectic magnetic field and that’s property that’s more of a nuisance at low microwave frequency.
Question: Would a detection mean that the universe is in some sense rotating and what does that have to do with choosing a proper frame of reference to understand things in.
Answer: So the question is…If you found that there was an elisity in the universe what would that actually imply? So getting back to this image here of this direction dependence. Let’s say there was some axis, it doesn’t mean that the universe is rotating. We actually have constraints on the maximum amount of the universe could be rotating and then it’s fun to think about what is it rotating with respective. But ignoring that, let’s say what would this mean. It would mean that really a microscopic scales and microscopic scales, the universe behaves just like this crystal does. So it’s as if again you are surrounded by a shell or you have glasses made of calcite so everywhere you look you would see rotation about the direction that your eyes are pointing if you will a borsite direction that you’re looking. That’s a special direction right Copernicus would have a field day with that. What makes you think that it is preferred reference frame and B what’s the probability that you’re in it or centered in it. So both of those are good questions to ask. However there’s one controveling fact which is that the direction of radio propagation, the direction in which photons are coming towards us is in some sense related to the time coordinate. So if you go back in space it will move only radially, it’s a very good approximation unless it gets gravitationally deflected. So there’s a relationship between time and the radio coordinate while there’s a lot of things that could vary with time and namely say dark energy. So people thought there might be a relationship between cosmic Biofringes, this rotation and the other thing that depends on time namely this dominance by dark energy that’s causing cosmic acceleration for which the 2011 Nobel Prize was awarded. So wouldn’t the significance of us finding it centered on us wouldn’t really violate the Copernican principle and make us anymore special. It would just say there’s something that is evolving with time. There is some field sometimes called an axion like field or some other type of field that’s evolving with time and that would put us into 4 dimensional space something that would appear centrally located but would really change with time as the universe gets older.
Question: Thank you. Regarding your suggestion of relationship between the rotation and particle masses, is that really co-relative, associative or is there some hypothesis?
Answer: So the question is, is the relationship between the masses a fundamental particles and perhaps biofringes phenomena and Lorentz violation? So the same types of particles that are responsible for weak interactions which is where the cobalt 60 week decay Beta decay where that take place. That interaction is sort of the main playing field for the other type of particle that we’re trying to measure which is called the neutrino. So we know neutrino exist. There’s actually 6 of them in particles in their antiparticles. There’s only 17 elementary particles. If you include the eggs particles there is 3 6th arks. There’s electron. You count them up there’s 17 fundamental elementary particles that can’t be broken up more than they are. The neutrinos are three of those 17 and we have only constraints on the masses. They’re the only particle whose mass is not known of the elementary particles. The eggs we just found it’s mass after 50 years after it was predicted. That won a Nobel Prize. We have the capability using gravitational lensing which I didn’t have time to talk about but really the universe its gravitational structure behaves like this water in this bottle and it refracts light based on Einstein’s equation of linking the mass energy and space time curvature. We can weigh neutrinos using the cosmic photons and that sense are related because they are weak, they are the main participants in the weak force. So they potentially could be scenarios where neutrino Physics is related to reality. Also neutrinos are maximally. We only see one handedness of neutrinos. There all their phenomena that might at some very, very basic level be related.
Seth: I have to say thanks again to Brian is that we were at the Institute running out the usual $15,000. Our controller said no he probably doesn’t want that he’d rather have this mug so we’ll give you this mug.
Brian: Thank you very much.