Maastricht Economic and social Research and  training centre on Innovation and Technology

I&T Weekly holiday break
I&T Weekly is taking a holiday break. We will be back on Friday, January 12, 2018 with a fresh selection of innovation and technology news. On behalf of the entire UNU-MERIT team, we wish our readers an excellent 2018!

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All headlines
  • France announces landmark ban on fossil fuel production
  • Extreme laser bursts may lead to practical nuclear fusion
  • Gene editing staves off deafness in mice
  • Integrated circuits could make quantum computers scalable
  • 'Water cloak' uses electromagnetic waves to eliminate turbulence
  • Cold cigarette lighter will power satellite
  • Evidence for string theory could be lurking in gravitational waves
    Signatures of the extra dimensions required by string theory could be seen by future gravitational-wave detectors. That is the conclusion of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Germany, who have identified two ways in which gravitational waves could be affected by the consequences of string theory - a theoretical framework that invokes speculative concepts such as extra dimensions to try to fill important gaps in our understanding of physics, including the nature of quantum gravity.

    Gravitational waves are ripples in space-time that are created when massive objects are accelerated under certain conditions. The researchers calculate that adding N extra dimensions to 4D space-time results in a 'breathing-mode' oscillation that would be present in a gravitational wave. The second distinct feature of extra dimensions is a discrete set of higher-frequency signals accompanying a gravitational wave.

    The first gravitational-wave detection was made in 2015, when the LIGO observatory spotted a signal from a coalescing binary black hole. The researchers say that LIGO's current configuration of two detectors will not be able to detect the breathing mode. However, it is possible that a breathing mode could be detected once a third detector in Italy, called Virgo, reaches its full sensitivity in 2018.

    As for the higher-frequency signals, the team point out that the trend in future detectors is towards lower frequencies, and therefore a special observatory would be needed to see that effect.

    PhysicsWorld / Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics    July 05, 2017