THE GRAININESS OF THE FABRIC OF SPACE MAY BE SMALLER THAN PREVIOUSLY ...July 8, 2011
I am fascinated, as readers of my books know, with the idea that the fabric of space-time is quantized, i.e., that it comes in "minimally smallest units of smallness," and is not the infinitesimally divisible continuum that Einstein's General Relativity assumed. Well, I ran across this article at phys.org that caught my eye:
What really interests me here is that once again, observation has trumped theoretical prediction:
“This is a very important result in fundamental physics and will rule out some string theories and quantum loop gravity theories,” says Dr Laurent.
"Integral made a similar observation in 2006, when it detected polarised emission from the Crab Nebula, the remnant of a supernova explosion just 6500 light years from Earth in our own galaxy.
"This new observation is much more stringent, however, because GRB 041219A was at a distance estimated to be at least 300 million light years.
"In principle, the tiny twisting effect due to the quantum grains should have accumulated over the very large distance into a detectable signal. Because nothing was seen, the grains must be even smaller than previously suspected."
Indeed, this might get everyone thinking again, rather than merely thumping white boards filled with equations. As the article concludes:
"Now it’s over to the theoreticians, who must re-examine their theories in the light of this new result." If that magical size, that magical grain of space-time, can ever be found, then the final unification of physics will begin, that final quest to unify the "harmonic series" into a comprehensible whole. When that happens, the music of the spheres will be heard again.
Let us hope that, this next time around, that music won't be used for destructive purposes.