Tennessee lab not trying to open a portal to a parallel universe | app


CLAIM: Scientists at a Tennessee lab are trying to determine if parallel universes exist by attempting to open a portal to another dimension.

THE FACTS: Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in eastern Tennessee conducted an experiment in 2019 to study an “exotic” type of neutron behavior that some media and social media posts called for. the search for “portals” to “parallel” realities is wrong. . One such widely shared post claimed that the researchers were conducting an experiment straight out of a sci-fi movie.

“Tennessee scientists working at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in eastern Tennessee have announced that they are trying to determine whether or not parallel universes exist,” said the Facebook post, which received over 130 likes. 000 shares. “They revealed that they were trying to open a portal to another dimension.”

But the researchers say that claim is really a fiction.

“My reaction to reading a headline like this is to say, ‘well, that looks really cool. I wonder what they’re doing because that really doesn’t sound like my research’. joked Leah Broussard, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientist who led the project. has nothing to do with portals or parallel universes as they have been described online.

“A ‘portal’ in this case is a figurative concept used in the physics community,” Shoemaker explained. “The team’s experiments did not explore a literal portal to a parallel universe.”

The research actually involved looking for potential interactions between neutrons and a theorized type of dark matter called “mirror matter.” The theorized mirror sector, sometimes referred to as the mirror universe, is thought to be “just another copy of the particles and interactions that we have in our universe,” Broussard explained.

She said it’s not the same as a parallel universe because it would exist in the same spacetime as our universe and be “completely a part of it.” She said her team was looking to test a potential hypothesis that neutrons could, in some cases, turn into mirror neutrons, the twin of dark matter.

Broussard’s team designed an experiment to see if they could “watch the neutrons go through a wall” that would normally stop them, she said. The process of sending neutrons through the wall has been figuratively described as moving through a “portal”, but that does not mean that neutrons are sent to another mysterious dimension, separate from our own, at the both she and Shoemaker said.

Shoemaker added that past news outlet reporting “had fun taking liberties with the concept,” likening the so-called portal to a gateway to alternate realities and other Hollywood tropes. In the end, the team did not observe any neutrons on the other side of the wall, meaning that this particular experiment found no evidence of such “mirror neutrons.”

These results were presented in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Physical Review Letters in May.

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