Can Science Explain Existence?

Universe Why is there something rather than nothing?  If you’re a philosopher, this is a familiar question and one that can be considered from the comfortable confines of an armchair.  However, according to a recent column in the New York Times, the answer, “may have been partially revealed in a recent experiment in the Tevatron — a particle accelerator — at Fermilab, in Batavia, Ill.”

The question addressed by the experiment was not about existence itself, of course, but rather about what we might call ‘conditional existence.’  Continue reading “Can Science Explain Existence?”

A Chiral Universe

When the universe was newborn (just a couple of microseconds old) it displayed a handedness, or chirality, that, according to a recent article in Science, physicists are finally able to reproduce in the laboratory.  Dmitri Kharzeev and his team at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at the Brookhaven National Laboratory noticed that the strong force behaves differently when things get hot enough.  At temperatures of four trillion degrees Celsius—the hottest temperature ever measured in a lab—protons and neutrons, smashed out of gold nuclei, turn into a flowing plasma of quarks and gluons.  The plasma, which behaves like a liquid, seems not to be mirror symmetric.  Continue reading “A Chiral Universe”