First off, a caveat: by hyper-dimensional speculation I mean something far beyond our usual "high octane" speculation, and perhaps bordering on "sheer fantasy", but falling just short of it. In any case, this has been one of those weeks where I truly do wish I had a staff that could blog about all the stories I wanted to blog about, because there are so many. Alas, I am only one person, and have to make my selections, but these two stories were at the very top of my list, not only for what they say, but also for their implications, and the context in which they occurred.
Let's look at the first article that began to flood my email in box about a new type of matter which has just been confirmed: time crystals:
So, in addition to the usual states of matter - solid, liquid, gas, plasma - we may now add a fifth, the time crystal, or to be more precise: non-equilibrium matter, a form of matter which in its ground state, oscillates, in other words, a regular lattice structure repeated not only in space such as an ordinary crystal like carborundum or diamond, but also in time as well, and this structure apparently exists without the consumption of energy to create motion:
First predicted by Nobel-Prize winning theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek back in 2012, time crystals are structures that appear to have movement even at their lowest energy state, known as a ground state.
Usually when a material is in ground state, also known as the zero-point energy of a system, it means movement should theoretically be impossible, because that would require it to expend energy.
But Wilczek predicted that this might not actually be the case for time crystals.
Normal crystals have an atomic structure that repeats in space - just like the carbon lattice of a diamond. But, just like a ruby or a diamond, they're motionless because they're in equilibrium in their ground state.
But time crystals have a structure that repeats in time, not just in space. And it keep oscillating in its ground state.
Imagine it like jelly - when you tap it, it repeatedly jiggles. The same thing happens in time crystals, but the big difference here is that the motion occurs without any energy.
A time crystal is like constantly oscillating jelly in its natural, ground state, and that's what makes it a whole new form of matter - non-equilibrium matter. It's incapable of sitting still.
To put it country simple, a non-equilibrium ground state of matter - a time crystal - is a kind of exotic matter, the quest for which we've been hearing about in recent years, though usually in conjunction with the so called "dark matter."
The quest was initiated by a paper by Norman Yao which demonstrated their theoretical existence and provided a map by which to actually create them:
Yao and his team have now come up with a detailed blueprint that describes exactly how to make and measure the properties of a time crystal, and even predict what the various phases surrounding the time crystals should be - which means they've mapped out the equivalent of the solid, liquid, and gas phases for the new form of matter.
The technique is simplicity itself, and, let it be noted, relies in some part on the idea of entanglement, with all its allusions to non-locality:
The University of Maryland's time crystals were created by taking a conga line of 10 ytterbium ions, all with entangled electron spins.
The key to turning that set-up into a time crystal was to keep the ions out of equilibrium, and to do that the researchers alternately hit them with two lasers. One laser created a magnetic field and the second laser partially flipped the spins of the atoms.
Because the spins of all the atoms were entangled, the atoms settled into a stable, repetitive pattern of spin flipping that defines a crystal.
That was normal enough, but to become a time crystal, the system had to break time symmetry. And observing the ytterbium atom conga line, the researchers noticed it was doing something odd.
The two lasers that were periodically nudging the ytterbium atoms were producing a repetition in the system at twice the period of the nudges, something that couldn't occur in a normal system.
"Wouldn't it be super weird if you jiggled the Jell-O and found that somehow it responded at a different period?" said Yao.
"But that is the essence of the time crystal. You have some periodic driver that has a period 'T', but the system somehow synchronises so that you observe the system oscillating with a period that is larger than 'T'."
Let that settle in for a moment: one inputs a periodicity of T, and out pops Tn, where Tn>T. If one has really been paying attention to various "odd details" I've chronicled in my books, one can imagine that the late Dr. Nikolai Kozyrev might be elated that this is a demonstration of his idea of "time as a force" and with a "density", a density that could be quantified by this time-lattice structure or periodicity. One might also suspect that a certain Dr. Ronald Richter would also be elated that this outlines ideas he was getting at in the 1950s(see my The Philosophers' Stone and The Nazi International respectively). Tuck all this in the back of your mind as you now contemplate that they've also not only successfully created these time crystals at Harvard, but that Harvard has also successfully synthesized metallic hydrogen, i.e., hydrogen not as a gas, but a metal:
I'll leave it to the reader to read the whole article, but I want to point out this paragraph:
Most importantly, physicists think that metallic hydrogen could be a room-temperature superconductor, which would mean the material could conduct electricity with zero resistance - and without having to be cooled to crazy temperatures first.
We know of many superconducting materials already - we use them to create the powerful magnetic fields in our MRI machines and in maglev trains - but they're only capable of achieving superconductivity at temperatures below –269 degrees Celsius (–452.2 degrees Fahrenheit), which makes them expensive and non-practical for many purposes.
If scientists could achieve that same superconductivity at room temperature, it would be huge, because it means we could create things like power lines that don't lose any electricity between the power plant and your home. Right now, the grid loses as much as 15 percent of its energy as heat, due to resistance.
Note, that by synthesizing metallic hydrogen for the first time ever, the first step in that technology tree outlined in the above quotation has been taken. Which brings us to the fourth line of that outline: "The material could also be the most powerful rocket propellant ever discovered, with incredible energy stored up in its bonds capable of blasting us to distant worlds." Metallic hydrogen in its isotopic forms - deuterium and tritium - if those could be synthesized, could then perhaps be used as fusion fuel for such propulsion systems "blasting us to distant worlds," a kind of "thermonuclear rocket."
But really, why bother with all that? Recall the experiments of Evgenny Podkletnov with circular superconductors that appeared to take on contrabaric (antigravity) properties. Now, instead of having to supercool those superconductors, simply make them of metallic hydrogen, in big enough rings, and oh, say, stack two of them upon the same axis of rotation, and counter-rotate those superconducting currents (which would have to be appropriately massive), and what do you get?
Well, before you think this rings a bell (and it does to some degree), recall NASA's proof of concept experiments in space warp technologies, being led by Dr. Harold "Sonny" White, who, you'll recall, reworked the metric of Miguel Alcubierre's paper on space warps to a smaller mass-energy conversion, and you have the NASA drawings of Dr. White's warp drive space ships with their clearly evident rings or "engines" that produce the warp. (See? I told you this would be hyper-dimensional speculation just on the fringe of fantasy.)
While all this is hyper-dimensional-speculation-just-this-side-of-fantasy, I have to wonder if it really is that, for what it appears we're being shown are the first steps in a technology tree that could lead from fantasy to reality, and in that respect, I cannot help but recall both DARPA's stated goal for the USA to become "warp capable" in a mere century, and to recall that what we're shown usually lags behind - often far behind - what we're not being shown. And I can't help recall in the context of all this hyper-dimensional-speculation-just-this-side-of-fantasy, the alleged statements of Ben Rich, that "we" had found "an error in the equations" (shades of Dr. White reworking Alcubierre's equations), and that we now could "take ET home." I cannot also help but recall President Trump's strange connection to Nikola Tesla via his MIT physicist uncle, Dr. John Trump, and the President's statements on making space a national priority.
I don't know about you, but I suspect something is definitely "up"...
See you on the flip side...