SciTech Briefs

Credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Our universe may be inside a wormhole

Scientists have long been baffled by the creation of our universe, but an idea has been proposed that may give insight into many unanswered questions, including the elusive theory unifying the four fundamental forces of nature. Nikodem Poplawski, a theoretical physicist at Indiana University in Bloomington, has suggested that our universe may have been born from a larger universe. His theory makes use of white holes, which can be seen as the reverse of black holes. Matter cannot enter white holes, but it can escape. White holes are connected to black holes by wormholes.

According to Poplawski, an implosion may have occurred in the larger universe, creating a wormhole that connects a white and black hole. Our universe is inside this wormhole, and since matter can only move in one direction, this accounts for the observed expanding universe.
Every time a black hole is created, he says, another universe may be forming inside a wormhole.


New species live without oxygen

Three species of Loricifera, tiny animals that live in marine sediment, have been discovered in the Mediterranean Sea at the bottom of L’Atelante Basin, whose extreme salinity prevents oxygen from mixing with the water. These are the first organisms discovered that spend their entire lives in an oxygen-free environment.

The new species, which have not yet been named, do not use mitochondria for energy. Mitochondria are organelles, or structures in a cell, that are present in every organism that needs oxygen. Instead, they use a different organelle that produces energy without oxygen. This discovery confirms the possibility of animals living in the most hazardous environments.

Source: Nature

Memristors may replace transistors

Hewlett-Packard has announced that memristors, a shortened form for “memory transistors,” may replace traditional transistors in computers as the size of computer chips becomes atomic. Transistors are an important component in most, if not all, electronics, and amplify or switch electrical signals to direct them correctly. Today’s transistors are semiconductor transistors, but memristors can also store information without the need of an electrical current. Scientists say they resemble biological brains more than computing devices.

Memristor technology uses a thin film of titanium dioxide, which changes atomic structure slightly when current is passed through. This small alteration causes the resistivity of the film to change, which can be measured. Memristors will be 10 times smaller than the most advanced transistors today at a size of only three nanometers, and they will be able to work at speeds measured in nanoseconds.

Source: The New York Times