Why Are We Here? -- Symmetry Breaking
Why are we here? This is arguably the most fundamental question in human history. Throughout the 20th century, astronomers have made enormous progress toward answering this question by viewing the early universe via telescopes (as time machines). A remarkable conclusion is that our universe had its beginning called the Big Bang. According to this concept, at the very beginning, some 14 billion years ago, our universe was born as a tiny, hot, dense object. In the meantime, during the last few decades, particle physicists have successfully reproduced the condition of the early stage of the universe via particle accelerators. If we take the outcome of the latest results of these accelerator experiments seriously, the conclusion appears astonishing, there was nothing at the beginning except photons.
How could anything such as "ourselves" come from nothing? Well, there must have been a series of Symmetry Breaking which created various particles (such as protons and electrons) first, then stars and galaxies next, and then finally life and “ourselves.” Are physics laws able to explain this whole process as a natural consequence of the evolving universe? That is the primary interest and mission of Arisaka’s Lab.
The Beginning -- Fiat LuxThe fact that there was nothing at the beginning is an unavoidable conclusion of physics, astronomy and cosmology of the 20th Century. The Hubble's Law in astronomy is telling us that our universe keeps expanding. In other words, if we go backward in time, the universe must have started from a really tiny, hot singular point. Under such conditions, the Standard Model of particle physics is telling us that the Four Fundamental Forces (Electro-Magnetic, Strong, Weak and Gravity) are all unified. In other words, there was no difference between photons, electrons and protons (or to be exact, quarks). All of these particles were the same as photons. That is, "Let there be light (Fiat Lux).” It is the natural consequence of the Symmetry of space-time (called Lorentz Invariance) and forces (called Local Gauge Invariance). That is, the nature appears to manifest amazing symmetries to begin with. Symmetry means that everything is the same. No difference at all. If that is the case, how could the early Universe create something (which differ each other) from nothing? To our surprise, there is still no clear answer to this fundamental problem yet.
Seven Phases of Cosmic Evolution
We are here. There is no question about it. If we think seriously about all the necessary steps which took for us to be here today, we realize that the required steps during the past 14 billion years are absolutely overwhelming and astonishing. Our universe must have gone through at least seven major phase transitions of cosmic evolution. They are:
- Creation of various particles (with mass) from nothing (i.e. energy)
- Creation of galactic structures (or any kind of structures) from no structure (i.e. hot gas)
- Stellar evolution (i.e. cycles of star formation and explosion)
- Planetary formation (such as the Earth)
- Chemical evolution on a planet (such as the one on the Earth's biosphere)
- Creation of life from no life (biological evolution)
- Evolution towards intellectual creature (such as human being)
The Origin of the Universe, Life and Consciousness
Among the above seven evolutions, we consider the first two (the origins of particles and structures) and the last two (the origins of life and consciousness) to be the most critical, and they are yet to be understood. Quite interesting. These four steps can be studied by the common advanced photon detectors today in a coherent manner. That is the mission of Arisaka Lab. Over the last three decades, we have been developing various photon detecters to address these questions. In summary, we are trying to explore the four phases of the cosmic evolution with new experimental techniques that use state-of-art photon detectors. For more details, please click on the following links:
- What's New? => Group Members, Presentations, Publications, UCLA News, Brief History
- Origin of the Universe => Particle Physics => Dark Matter (XENON, DarkSide, XAX), CMS, Pierre Auger
- Origin of Life and Consciousness => Biophysics => Collaborators, Tracking Molecules, Neurophysics
- Advanced Photon Detectors => Latest R&D, Photon Detector Lab
- References -- Lectures (PPT), Textbooks, Popular Books, Good Movies
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