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Nov 8, 2021

Loop Quantum Cosmology Theory: Cosmic Tango Between the Very Small and the Very Large

Posted by in categories: cosmology, quantum physics

Theory of loop quantum cosmology describes how tiny primordial features account for anomalies at the largest scales of the universe.

While Einstein’s theory of general relativity can explain a large array of fascinating astrophysical and cosmological phenomena, some aspects of the properties of the universe at the largest-scales remain a mystery. A new study using loop quantum cosmology—a theory that uses quantum mechanics to extend gravitational physics beyond Einstein’s theory of general relativity—accounts for two major mysteries. While the differences in the theories occur at the tiniest of scales—much smaller than even a proton—they have consequences at the largest of accessible scales in the universe. The study, which was published online on July 29 2020, in the journal Physical Review Letters, also provides new predictions about the universe that future satellite missions could test.

While a zoomed-out picture of the universe looks fairly uniform, it does have a large-scale structure, for example because galaxies and dark matter are not uniformly distributed throughout the universe. The origin of this structure has been traced back to the tiny inhomogeneities observed in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB)—radiation that was emitted when the universe was 380 thousand years young that we can still see today. But the CMB itself has three puzzling features that are considered anomalies because they are difficult to explain using known physics.

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