A desktop universe captures properties of the real thing
Unable to study the Big Bang in person, physicists have now simulated it in a bit of plastic and metal.
This desktop model tries to re-create the forward movement of time that drives history ever onward. In this experiment, as in many others before, time travel is impossible.
“It’s a toy representation of what actually happens in our universe,” says Igor Smolyaninov, a physicist at the University of Maryland in College Park who describes his work online April 4 at arXiv.org.
Smolyaninov built his toy out of metamaterials. These man-made substances bend light in ways once thought impossible. They’ve achieved a measure of fame as invisibility cloaks (