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Quantum weirdness, parallel worlds, dinosaur poop, and the ultimate fate of the universe...
Date:2/13/2008

F DUST Tim Folger recalls how he came upon the topic for his article on quantum weirdness. He heard about Roger Penrose's thousand-page tome, "The Road to Reality" and about a space-based experiment Penrose was proposing to measure the effect of gravity on a speck of dust.

Quantum mechanics says something about how we measure the world but not about the world itself, says Folger. There is no widespread agreement on what the theory says about reality. Penrose hopes to remedy this. His experiment would consist of observing the effect of gravity on a tiny mirror the size of a speck of dust, showing that it can reside in two places at once only briefly before collapsing into a single location.

Folger spent a week talking to Penrose prior to writing his award-winning article. "It was fun meeting with him," says Folger, "but it took a little time to figure out what he was saying."

In addition to his magazine work, Folger is the series editor for "The Best American Science and Nature Writing," an annual anthology. He lives with his wife Anne in a small town in northern New Mexico, where he is currently writing a new book. His award will be presented during the American Physical Society March Meeting in New Orleans.

FINDING THE ORDER IN THE UNIVERSE James Trefil's article "Where is the Universe Heading"" is about the latest concepts in cosmology, a field that has matured in recent years as scientists like Trefil have come to find answers to longstanding questions -- only to discover new questions in the process.

The article discusses dark matter, dark energy, and what the new cosmology tells us about the fate of the universe. Cosmologists have long debated whether the universe contains enough energy to continue expanding or whether the expansion would eventually halt and then contract. The measurement of the amount of dark energy in the universe in recent years has shown that there is enough of this energy to prevent gravity from s
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Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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