Scientists are using the universe as a ‘cosmological collider’

Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 10:22 in Astronomy & Space

Physicists are capitalizing on a direct connection between the largest cosmic structures and the smallest known objects to use the universe as a “cosmological collider” and investigate new physics. The 3-D map of galaxies throughout the cosmos and the leftover radiation from the Big Bang — called the cosmic microwave background (CMB) — are the largest structures in the universe that astrophysicists observe using telescopes. Subatomic elementary particles, on the other hand, are the smallest known objects in the universe that particle physicists study using particle colliders. A team, including Xingang Chen of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), Yi Wang from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), and Zhong-Zhi Xianyu from the Center for Mathematical Sciences and Applications at Harvard, has used these extremes of size to probe fundamental physics in an innovative way. They have shown how the properties of the elementary particles (the building blocks of...

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