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A team of astrophysicists has just spawned 8 million unique universes inside a supercomputer and let them evolve from just tots to old geezers. Their goal? To nail down the role that an invisible substance called dark matter played in our universe's life since the Big Bang and what it means for our fate.
After discovering that our universe is mostly composed of dark matter in the late 1960s, scientists have speculated on its role in the formation of galaxies and their ability to give birth to new stars over time.
Big - Bang - Theory - Universe - Substance
According to the Big Bang theory, not long after the universe was born, an invisible and elusive substance physicists have dubbed dark matter began to clump together by the force of gravity into massive clouds called dark matter haloes. As the haloes grew in size, they attracted the sparse hydrogen gas permeating the universe to come together and form the stars and galaxies we see today. In this theory, dark matter acts as the backbone of galaxies, dictating how they form, merge and evolve over time.
To better understand how dark matter shaped this history of the universe, Peter Behroozi, an assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona, and his team created his own universes using the school's supercomputer. The computer's 2,000 processors worked without pause over a span of three weeks to simulate more than 8 million unique universes. Each universe individually obeyed a unique set of rules to help researchers understand the relationship between dark matter and the evolution of galaxies.
Computer - Universes - Rules - One - Behroozi
"On the computer, we can create many different universes and compare them to the actual one, and that lets us infer which rules lead to the one we see," Behroozi said in a statement.
While previous simulations have focused on modeling single galaxies or generating mock...
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