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The theory of chameleons could change the way scientists think about gravity



The chameleon theory could change our ideas about gravity

Computer generated images showing a galaxy of discs from a modified gravimetric simulation. The images show (on the right of the image, in red-blue) the density of gas in the disk of the galaxy with the stars represented by luminous points. The left side of the images shows the force changes in the gas inside the disc, where the dark central regions correspond to the standard forces of the general relativity type and the bright yellow regions correspond to the reinforced (modified) forces. The images show views of the simulated galaxy from above and from the side. Christian Arnold University / Baojiu Li / Durham.

Einstein's theory of general relativity is famous around the world – but it may not be the only way to explain how gravity and galaxy formation work. Physicists from Durham University have created huge simulations of supercomputers from the universe to test an alternative theory.

Our researchers have discovered that f (R) -gravity – a so-called Chameleon theory – could also explain the formation of structures in the cosmos. Simulations show that spiral disc galaxies such as our Milky Way are still forming, even if a different law of gravity is applied.

Scientists already know that gravity (R) can replicate the success of general relativity in demonstrating the evolution of our solar system. But our new research now shows that this theory can also be applied to the formation of galaxies at very large cosmological scales.

That's not to say that Einstein was wrong! On the contrary, it shows that there may be more than one way to explain the role of gravity in the evolution of the universe.

Modified gravity simulation

The images show (on the right of the image, in red-blue) the density of gas in the disk of the galaxy with the stars represented by luminous points. The left side of the images shows the force changes in the gas inside the disc, where the dark central regions correspond to the standard forces of the general relativity type and the bright yellow regions correspond to the reinforced (modified) forces. The images show views of the simulated galaxy from above and from the side. Christian Arnold University / Baojiu Li / Durham.

General relativity was developed by Einstein in the early 1900s to explain the gravitational effect of large objects in space. This also has implications for understanding the accelerating expansion of the universe, which she believes to be driven by a mysterious substance called dark energy.

However, models such as gravity (F) can also explain the rapid growth of the universe and our researchers say their work could also be a small step towards identifying what energy is. black. Our astronomers and cosmologists are among the best in the world and constantly bring new information on the science of the universe.

Over the past year, we have also shown how supermassive black holes can help measure the expansion of the primitive universe. how our milky way is on a catastrophic collision course with a neighboring galaxy; and why Uranus is tilted to the side.

We are also helping to build the very large telescope – the largest telescope in the world. Learn more about our research in cosmology and astronomy.

Research in f (R) -gravity is published in Nature Astronomy. It was led by Dr. Christian Arnold and Professor Baojiu Li from our Institute of Computational Cosmology and graduate student Matteo Leo from our Institute of Phenomenology of Particle Physics.

The research was funded by the European Research Council and the Science and Technology Facilities Council. Computer simulations were performed on the DiRAC Data Centric system at the University of Durham.

Publication: Christian Arnold, Matteo Leo and Baojiu Li, "Realistic simulations of galaxy formation in modified gravity f (R)," Nature Astronomy (2019).


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