Universe’s Deepest Mysteries: Quantum Entanglement, Dark Matter, and Dark Energy | a16z Podcast
Join Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist John Mather as he unravels the universe’s deepest mysteries, from the search for extraterrestrial life to the enigma of what existed before the Big Bang, and everything in between.
Future Telescopes and Their Goals
Future projects include the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope and the Habitable Worlds Observatory.
These telescopes will be equipped to look for planets as direct images and to see an Earth-like object around a star like the sun, driven by the desire to answer the question: are we alone in the universe?
I think life will occur quite frequently but it will mostly be rather elementary. Probably life is everywhere that it could be which is perhaps in conditions like ours where there’s liquid water at about the right temperature. – John Mather
Cosmic Dark Energy and Cosmic Dark Matter
Cosmic Dark Energy and Cosmic Dark Matter, while mathematically describable and fitting with most of our current understanding of the universe, were unexpected and remain largely unexplained.
The exact nature of Cosmic Dark Matter, despite decades of research, remains unknown.
The Concept of the Big Bang
The current understanding is that the universe was initially a soup of quarks and leptons, and the concept of an inflation field is proposed as a possible precursor to the Big Bang.
This theory could imply the existence of other universes, potentially billions or even an infinite number.
The Mystery of Quantum Gravity
Quantum gravity, a concept that challenges our understanding of space and time, leads to further mysteries such as wormholes and quantum entanglement.
These concepts highlight the vast number of unanswered questions in the field of astrophysics.
The Accelerating Universe
Observations suggest that the expansion of the universe, which was initially slowing down due to gravity, has started to accelerate.
Given enough time, most galaxies would recede so far away that they would become invisible, seemingly emptying out the universe.
The next one we’re going to build is called Habitable Worlds Observatory and so when we do that we’ll be able to see an image with a little dot next to the other Big Dot and it’ll be an Earth-like object around a star like the sun which is a much more likely place to find signs of life because of course we’ve got one observation which is US. – John Mather
The Enigma of What Existed Before the Big Bang
The question of what existed before the Big Bang remains an enigma.
It is suggested that there might not have been anything before it, with the universe initially being a soup of quarks and leptons.
The Search for Signs of Life
The James Webb Telescope has the potential to capture direct images of planets, and the possibility of finding signs of life on Earth-like planets.
A future project called the Habitable Worlds Observatory would further enhance our ability to search for extraterrestrial life.
The Transparent Nature of Cosmic Dark Matter
Despite its name, Cosmic Dark Matter should be called transparent, according to Mather.
It has been detected by its gravitational effects, but its exact nature remains unknown despite decades of research.