Smolyaninov Proposes Big Bang Model Using MetamaterialsVisiting Research Scientist Igor Smolyaninov was in the news recently for proposing a new method for modeling the emergence of the universe. Smolyaninov has suggested that the big bang could be simulated using precisely designed metamaterials that are mathematically analogous to particular conditions of the real-world big bang.
Metamaterials are artificially engineered structures that often contain unusual properties not commonly found in nature. Some metamaterials can reproduce the behavior of light in a variety of spacetimes unlike the dimensions we perceive in the world. These metamaterials allow us see a representation of an entirely different spacetime than that which we normally perceive.
Smolyaninov offers a mathematical demonstration that one metamaterial — representing two space dimensions and two time dimensions — could undergo a transformation leading to the equivalent of a sudden reduction to only one time dimension and the creation of lots of particles. In effect, this would represent a model of the big bang -- a sudden emergence of matter from nothing.
Learn more about Smolyaninov's proposal for a "toy big bang" model in Popular Science and MIT Technology Review, or read Smolyaninov's paper, "Optical models of the big bang and non-trivial space-time metrics based on metamaterials."
Published August 31, 2009