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Twisted Physics


22 Sep 2009, 06:20 UTC
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Moviegoers who flocked to see the 2007 film Sunshine
-- in which a motley crew of astronauts embark on a doomed mission to
save the sun from imminent "death" -- probably didn't stress overmuch
about whether or not the science was accurate (unless they happened to
be science bloggers). But as far as movie science goes, the underlying
premise, while hypothetical, wasn't all that far-fetched.The filmmakers had help
from physicist Brian Cox, who devised an intriguing explanation for why
our sun might be dying in 50 years rather than five billion years: "Q
balls", the nucleus of the hypothetical supersymmetrical particles.
Assuming Q balls exist, if a nucleus were to become lodged in the sun,
it would devour the sun, ripping apart protons and neutrons and turning
them into more supersymmetrical particles.
Supersymmetry predicts the existence of "sparticles": mirror particles of all the known particles in the Standard Model
that some scientists think may have once been abundant in the early
universe (as in, the a split second after the Big Bang). It wouldn't
have been so much a quark soup, as a "squark soup" -- a veritable sea
of squarks and slepons (the supersymmetric versions of quarks and

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