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How the Universe came into being?

After years of speculation and numerous theories, scientists have solved the fundamental question on how the Universe came into existence and how life started. Read on.

india Updated: May 10, 2011 13:48 IST

Scientists have solved the fundamental question on how the Universe came into existence and how life started.

"Attempts to calculate the Hoyle state have been unsuccessful since 1954.

But now, we have done it!" said Professor Ulf-G. Meißner (Helmholtz-Institut fur Strahlen- und Kernphysik der Universitat Bonn).

The Hoyle state is an energy-rich form of the carbon nucleus. It is the mountain pass over which all roads from one valley to the next lead: From the three nuclei of helium gas to the much larger carbon nucleus.

This fusion reaction takes place in the hot interior of heavy stars. If the Hoyle state did not exist only very little carbon or other higher elements such as oxygen, nitrogen and iron could have formed. Without this type of carbon nucleus, life probably also would not have been possible.

What made this possible was a new, improved calculating approach the researchers used that allowed calculating the forces between several nuclear particles more precisely than ever.

The Hoyle state had been verified by experiments as early as 1954, but calculating it always failed.

For this form of carbon consists of only three, very loosely linked helium nuclei - more of a cloudy diffuse carbon nucleus. And it does not occur individually, only together with other forms of carbon.

"This is as if you wanted to analyze a radio signal whose main transmitter and several slave transmitters are interfering with each other," explained Prof. Evgeny Epelbaum (Institute of Theoretical Physics II at Ruhr-Universitat Bochum).

The main transmitter is the stable carbon nucleus from which humans - among others - are made.

"But we are interested in one of the unstable, energy-rich carbon nuclei; so we have to separate the weaker radio transmitter somehow from the dominant signal by means of a noise filter," Epelbaum said.

What made this possible was a new, improved calculating approach the researchers used that allowed calculating the forces between several nuclear particles more precisely than ever.

And in JUGENE, the supercomputer at Forschungszentrum Julich, a suitable tool was found. It took JUGENE almost a week of calculating. The results matched the experimental data so well that the researchers can be certain that they have indeed calculated the Hoyle state.

The results have been published in the upcoming issue of Physical Review Letters.