Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Plasma in reactors echoes distribution of galaxies

Filed under
Sci/Tech

Nuclear fusion reactors could be used to study what the universe was like just after the big bang. So claims a physicist who noticed that the plasma created inside these reactors is distributed in a strikingly similar way to galaxies in today's universe.

Nils Basse of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology does not normally concern himself with events in the early universe. Instead, he studies turbulence in the plasma created in fusion reactors. But when he chanced upon the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) - which is mapping a quarter of the sky in detail - he noticed something uncanny. The mathematical equation governing the distribution of voids and galaxies looks remarkably like the one describing the millimetre-sized knots and clots of plasma in the Wendelstein 7-AS "stellarator" fusion reactor in Garching, Germany (Physics Letters A, vol 340, p 456).

Basse argues that the distribution of galaxies today could be the result of variations in the density of plasma after the big bang. "I think it all comes from turbulence in the very early universe," he says. "[The galaxy distribution today] is just a blow-up of what was going on at that point." This suggests that stellarator reactors could serve as models of the early universe.

But cosmologist Daniel Eisenstein of the University of Arizona in Tucson, who works on the SDSS project, disagrees. He points out that the kind of plasma that Basse describes existed only for the first millisecond after the big bang, and that epoch ended too soon to influence the large scale structure of today's universe. Eisenstein calculates that the largest structure that could have arisen because of any such primordial density variations would only stretch a few light years across today.

Eisenstein also says that Basse's claim is difficult to reconcile with the results of the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), which has mapped the distribution of the oldest light in the universe dating back to some 380,000 years after the big bang. This "baby picture" of the cosmos yields markedly different density fluctuations to the SDSS map. "I don't see any way to get turbulence into this mix without throwing out all the [WMAP] data," Eisenstein says. "And that's very powerful data."

Source.

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • Dawn of the data center operating system
    How microservices architecture and Linux containers will tame distributed computing for developers and ops
  • 30 Sys Admins to Follow on SysAdmin Day
    Systems administrators: They keep our high-tech world up and running. From capacity planning, to 3 a.m. phone calls, to retiring that 10-year-old server that uses more power than your whole house, sys admins do it all. Open source communities would not be able to thrive without the networks, services, and tools that allow for communication and collaboration, and sys admins are the ones who work thanklessly year-round to keep them going. July 31 is System Administrator Appreciation Day, a day for all of us to express our undying gratitude for sys admins. Sure, you could buy your favorite sys admin cake and ice cream, or perhaps a nice gift card. You could even go as far as not breaking the server for just one day. You also can follow these 30 sys admins.
  • See What Systemd 223 Brings New
  • Sparkfun's pcDuino Acadia Benchmarks Against Other ARM SBCs
    Sparkfun's pcDuino Acadia os a $119 USD development board powered by a Freescale i.MX6 quad-core Cortex-A9 SoC with Mali 400 graphics. There's 1GB of RAM and other connectivity options for this board.
  • Linux Based Solus OS Now Boots in Flat 1.2 Seconds
    Solus OS is a Linux distro that was built from scratch and uses a new desktop environment called Budgie. You can consider it as the next version of the Solus OS as it was built by the same developer team, so they didn’t bother changing the name for a new operating system.
  • Arch Linux 2015.08.01 Has Been Released. Upgrade Now!
    Arch Linux 2015.08.01 has been released and is powered by Kernel 4.1 and includes all the update patches since the 1st of July 2015.
  • uReadIt 3 – The Best Reddit Client For Ubuntu Touch
    As you may know, uReadIt is an open-source Reddit client for Ubuntu Touch, being one of the best native apps for Ubuntu mobile.
  • You Can Now Watch Flash Content With MPV On Ubuntu
    As you may know, Adobe Flash is not the safest thing on the internet this days. Mozilla even disabled it from the Firefox browser a while, due to the vulnerabilities found lately.
  • Ubuntu MATE 15.04 Running on the Rikomatic MK808B
    Ubuntu MATE, the latest member of the Ubuntu family, has been spotted running on the MK808B Plus Quad-Core mini TV box device. The device runs with Android 4.4 by default, but a third party developer has tweaked it to run Ubuntu.
  • LEGO Smart Home
    We spoke to Bhavana Srinivas and Geremy Cohen from PubNub about their LEGO Smart Home model, a proof of concept project that shows how you can use the Raspberry Pi with communication platform PubNub in order to automate your household electronics and other Internet of Things devices. You can read the full piece in the latest issue.
  • Compact module runs Linux on quad-core Braswell
    Congatec announced a compact, low power computer-on-module based on Intel’s 14nm “Braswell” SoCs, and featuring triple display outputs, and up to 4K video.

Leftovers: Software

today's howtos

Leftovers: Gaming