The Standard Model of Particle Physics is our best theory on how the universe works at a fundamental level, it is marked by questions that are difficult to answer. Questions like: what is dark matter? What is dark energy? What caused the Big Bang?
All those questions could be answered thanks to a particle, still hypothetical, called tachyon, according to a recent study.
Herb Fried, of Brown University, and Yves Gabellini, of INLN-Université de Nice, consider that the mysteries of the Standard Model can be resuletos by the taquiones.
Tachyons are hypothetical particles that travel faster than light. According to Einstein’s theory of special relativity, particles can never travel faster than light. Which is good: if they did, our ideas about cause and effect would be discarded, because it would be possible to see an effect manifest before its cause.
Fried and Gabellini arrived at their model based on tachyons while trying to find an explanation for dark energy in space that seems to fuel the accelerated expansion of the universe. First they proposed that dark energy is produced by fluctuations of virtual pairs of electrons and positrons.
However, this model ran into mathematical difficulties with unexpected imaginary numbers. In special relativity, however, the resting mass of a tachyon is an imaginary number, unlike the rest mass of ordinary particles. While the equations and imaginary numbers in the new model involve much more than mere masses, the idea is suggestive: Gabellini realized that by including fluctuating pairs of tachyons and anti-tachyons, they could cancel and eliminate unwanted imaginary numbers from their calculations. What’s more, Gabellini and Fried realized that by adding their tachyons to the model, they could also explain inflation (the ultrafast expansion of the universe at the initial instants).
“This assumption [of fluctuating pairs of tachyons-anti-tachyons] can not be denied by any experimental test,” says Fried, and the model fits perfectly with the existing experimental data on dark energy and energy of inflation. The calculations suggest that these high-energy tachyons could reabsorb almost all the photons they emit and, therefore, are invisible. And there is more: as Fried explains, “if a very high-energy tachyon thrown into the void were found and annihilated with an anti-tachyon of the same species, this small quantum ‘explosion’ of energy could be the seed of another Big Bang. , giving rise to a new universe.
Too much speculation?
This model, like any model of non-replicable phenomena such as the creation of the universe, can be characterized simply as a tempting set of speculations. However, not only does it fit the data on inflation and dark energy, but it also offers a possible solution to another observed mystery. In recent years, astronomers have realized that the black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy is “supermassive,” which contains the mass of one million or more suns . And the same kind of supermassive black hole can be seen in the centers of many other galaxies in our current universe.
How those objects are formed is still a mystery. The energy stored in the quantum vacuum large enough to counteract the gravitational tendency of galaxies to collapse on themselves. However, in the theory of Fried and Gabellini, when a new universe is formed, a large amount of the quantum vacuum energy of the old universe escapes through the point produced by the tachynon-anti-tachyon annihilation (the new Big Bang).
Eventually, even distant parts of the old universe will be affected, since the energy of the quantum vacuum of the old universe leaks into the new universe like the air that escapes through a hole in a balloon. The decrease of this quantum vacuum energy buffer against gravity in the old universe suggests that as the old universe dies, many of its galaxies will form supermassive black holes in the new universe, each with the mass of the ancient suns and planets of the galaxy. Some of these new supermassive black holes can form the centers of new galaxies in the new universe .
Scientifically, everything seems consistent. But as with much theoretical physics, we do not yet have tools to determine if all this is true or just a good argument for a hard science fiction novel.