A black hole in a bath: Big physics on a bench-top

 作者:枚也膑     |      日期:2019-03-15 08:05:01
By Sophie Hebden If you haven’t got a CERN budget, don’t despair: find the magic formula and you can recreate the most exotic cosmic objects in surprisingly humble settings IN MANY an unassuming corner of the globe, you might come across an attic, shed or spare room with a table-top railway. To the uninitiated, these model train sets, with tiny figures standing at platforms and tracks fringed by green sponge bushes, represent a harmless, if peculiar, pastime. To the hobbyist, they are a serious affair – a labour of love, and a way to run a railway almost as if for real. Modelling the physics around us (Image: Brett Ryder) This spirit of tinkering, of exploring and learning about the real world by making smaller-scale models of it, is also alive in the physics lab. Many desirable things lie beyond the practical reach of physicists: recreating the first moments of the universe, playing freely with high-energy particles, wandering the fringes of a black hole. Video: Watch an artificial black hole mimic curved spacetime And so on bench-tops across the world, you’ll see odd apparitions. Whether a black hole fashioned from water waves, or a Higgs boson sculpted from liquid helium, these are “analogues” – lovingly crafted replicas of physical systems that, primed in the right way, can be made to work just like the original. The hope is they might help overcome some of the practical and financial limitations of larger experiments,