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How scientists work together to solve one of the mysteries of the universe

All these facts suggest that scientists know a lot about Fast Radio Bursts. In reality, we do not do it. For example, although we know that they do not come from our galaxy, we do not know where they are coming from exactly. We do not know what causes them. And we do not know if they could be useful as cosmological norms for measuring the large-scale properties of our universe.

Dozens of theories about fast radio flashes have been proposed. Some are consistent with standard physics. Others are more exotic, including cosmic chains – hypothetical one-dimensional structures formed in the primitive universe – or even rather bizarre: a theory suggests that extraterrestrials are responsible.

In an attempt to uncover the truth about Fast Radio Bursts, we have created a catalog that lists each theory, as well as its advantages and disadvantages. Scientists around the world can step in and new data and discoveries will be added throughout the process.

Some of this data will come from projects on the African continent, such as Hydrogen Intensity and Real-time Analysis (HIRAX), MeerKAT and Square Kilometer Array (SKA), which are expected to uncover and locate thousands of Fast Radio bursts. .

This platform will produce a lot of knowledge. It will also provide valuable insights into scientific sociology as international researchers work together and, ultimately, we hope to identify the most acceptable model.

A range of theories

Perhaps precisely because they are so elusive, fast radios have received much attention from astronomers, astrophysicists, cosmologists and physicists in the years following their discovery.

These are the main theories that have emerged so far.

  • Fast radio bursts involve types of neutron stars, such as pulsars (which rotate rapidly) or magnetars (which are highly magnetized). These are probably the most plausible theories, because the intrinsic and extremely important magnetic fields of neutron stars can naturally meet the energy needs of fast radio bursts.
  • The fusion of astronomical bodies (such as black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs) and their collapse have been proposed as a possible origin for fast radio bursts.

In such processes, huge amounts of energy are released over short periods. This could eventually create radiation similar to fast radio bursts.

  • some of the most exotic models have a more theoretical basis. They involve hypothetical objects such as quark stars (quarks are the subatomic particles that make up neutrons and protons), axion stars (axions are extremely subtle and hypothetical particles) and dark matter: matter Hypothetical unobserved supposed to explain 27% of the total content in the universe.
  • Another rather unlikely theory is that Fast Radio Bursts hits the pulsars very hard.

And then there is the suggestion that Fast Radio Bursts are the proof of the extraterrestrials. This is certainly the most unusual of the theories proposed, but this can not yet be ruled out.

Although unlikely, Fast Radio Bursts may be signals from a beacon installed by an extraterrestrial civilization, or perhaps light sails that exploit photons to travel across the galaxy.

These models show remarkable variation and it is difficult to limit options and reach consensus. Of the 50 theories or models proposed to date, only three have been eliminated. This is what prompted us to create the catalog and solicit the involvement of the wider scientific community.

Debate platform

It's not easy to get scientists to talk about Fast Radio Bursts. Indeed, the scientists in question have different specializations and come from all over the world.

The online catalog provides a suitable and accessible platform for discussion, debate and knowledge sharing. There is also a traceable story, which gives us the opportunity to study how, as human beings, we work together to solve scientific problems – and perhaps how this process could be optimized in the future.

Part of our motivation, as theoretical physicists, was to develop that commitment and to delve into ourselves. The problems are rich and the waters deep.

Data on Fast Radio Bursts is starting to flow, thanks to game changers such as MeerKAT and HIRAX. As the paper is reviewed, and the papers are published, we can begin to dismiss theories and delve into viable theories. In five years, this mystery could be solved.

Explore further:
Australian telescope almost doubles number of mysterious "fast radio bursts"

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