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How do you create the big bang inside metamaterials?

by changeseeker
Tags: big bang, cosmology, metamaterials, photons, spacetime
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Aug23-09, 10:59 AM
P: 62
My knowledge in physics is very limited. Could someone please explain what this means in regular English?


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Metamaterials are substances with a permittivity and permeability that has been manipulated in a way that allows fine control over the behavior of light. They have famously been used to create an invisibility cloak that hides objects from view. Now Igor Smolyaninov, a physicist in the US, has calculated how metamaterials could be used for a much more profound demonstration: to reproduce the behavior of light in various kinds of spacetimes, in particular a (2+2) spacetime (one having two dimensions of space and two of time). His method is to show that there is formal mathematical analogy between the way metamaterials and spacetimes affect light. He goes on to show how a phase transition in a (2+2) spacetime leads to the creation of a (2+1) spacetime filled with photons, an event analogous to the Big Bang.
Here are the abstract and the preprint (PDF).
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Aug23-09, 11:35 PM
P: 182
Before we had digital computers, there were 'analog' computers. This were based on the concept of finding physical phenomenon that we could measure -- often electrically -- that had corresponding properties that mirrored a problem of interest.

When properly setup such a system could give immediate answers to problems that would be nearly impossible to solve either by hand or by early digital computers.

As I understand it, this paper shows that 'metamaterials' can be shown to behave the same way as various space-time models being explored theoretically -- many General Relativity ones and some even more general.

If this proves out then this would provide an 'experimental' method to help confirm some rather complicated predictions in some purely theoretical concepts. A very interesting idea.
Aug24-09, 02:36 AM
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PF Gold
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P: 9,380
This is a mathematical exercise. An experimental proposal would be helpful.

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