The US National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science asked the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel to form a committee “drawn broadly from the communities in particles physics, nuclear physics, cosmology, astrophysics, and related fields” to make a list of the key questions in physics and cosmology. Their report, The Quantum Universe , lists nine Questions:
- ARE THERE UNDISCOVERED PRINCIPLES OF NATURE : NEW SYMMETRIES, NEW PHYSICAL LAWS?
- HOW CAN WE SOLVE THE MYSTERY OF DARK ENERGY?
- ARE THERE EXTRA DIMENSIONS OF SPACE?
- DO ALL THE FORCES BECOME ONE?
- WHY ARE THERE SO MANY KINDS OF PARTICLES?
- WHAT IS DARK MATTER?
- WHAT ARE NEUTRINOS TELLING US?
- HOW DID THE UNIVERSE COME TO BE?
- WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ANTIMATTER?
The Antimatter-Antigravity video highlights Questions 9, 6, and 2 (numbered 1, 4, and 5 in the video) and adds two new mysteries (numbered 2 and 3 in the video):
- How do we avoid infinite forces in the mathematical solutions to a theory that includes both Relativity and Quantum Mechanics? The answer may involve a new symmetry, a new physical law as asked for in Question 1.
- Is there a simpler explanation for the uniformity of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation besides proposing a sudden-on and sudden-off inflationary period in the growth of the early universe? This could be viewed as a subset of Question 8.
The question of antimatter gravity may be relevant to most of these questions, and has the potential to solve several of them. General Relativity (GR), the accepted theory of gravity, predicts that gravity acts independent of an objects composition, so antimatter should fall the same way matter falls. But the gravitational force on antimatter has never been directly measured. Is it reasonable to questions its prediction?
GR has passed all experimental tests on length scales the size of the solar system and smaller, but its predictions fail on larger scales, the size of galaxies and larger. To repair the theory, physicists have postulated ad hoc new physics: Dark Matter to explain galactic dynamics, Dark Energy to explain why the expansion of the Universe is not slowing down the way GR predicts, and cosmic inflation to explain the uniform temperature of the Universe. Unfortunately, despite tremendous effort to look for it, we still do not have any compelling evidence that any of this new physics exists beyond the observations that led us to postulates its existence. The result is that now physicists are questioning its existence and suggesting that we need a new approach .
Antigravity for antimatter is one alternative that appears to solve all the problems at once. Occam’s razor, which states that the simplest explanation is more likely to be correct than more complicated explanations, clearly favors this single bit of new physics over the current explanation. And the best part of this explanation is that it can be experimentally tested at a tiny fraction of the cost of Dark Matter and Dark Energy experiments! But getting funding for an experiment that challenges the dominant paradigm has proven to be nearly impossible in the US.
- P. Drell, A. Albrecht, S. Aronson, K. Baker, J. Bagger, N. Calder, E. Gates, F. Gilman, J. Jackson, S. Kahn, E. Kolb, J. Lykken, H. Murayama, H. Robertson, J. Siegrist, S. Swordy, and J. Womersley, Quantum Universe, tech. rep., DOE/NSF, 2006.
- G. Bertone and T. M. P. Tait, A new era in the search for dark matter, Nature, 562 (2018), pp. 51–56.