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Supercomputer shows Chameleon theory could change the way we think about gravity

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Supercomputer shows Chameleon theory could change the way we think about gravity

Supercomputer simulations of galaxies have shown that Einstein’s theory of General relativity is not the only way to explain gravity, how galaxies are formed or the way it works.

Durham University, UK, physicist simulated the cosmos with the help of an alternative model for gravity called the Chameleon theory.

The images produced from the simulation shows that galaxies can still form in the universe even with different gravitational laws.

According to the findings, the viability of the chameleon theory can change behavior based on the environment and that’s how it gets its name. This is an alternative to general relativity that explains the formation of galaxies in the universe.

The research also helped in understanding dark energy which is the mysterious substance that is increasing the expansion rate of the universe.

The findings have been published in Nature Astronomy.

General relativity was designed by Albert Einstein back in the 1900s. He came up with this theory in order to explain the gravitational effect of large objects found in space. For example, he explained the orbit of mercury in our solar system.

This basically forms the foundation of the modern day cosmology. However, it does play an important role in our everyday life as well. For example, it helps in calculating GPS positions in cell phones.

Scientists have already figured out from the theoretical calculations that the chameleon theory can reproduce the success of general relativity.

The Durham team has shown that this theory allows realistic galaxies to form and they can be distinguished from general relativity.

Dr. Christian Arnold who is the research co-lead author in Durham University Institute for Computational Cosmology said that “Chameleon theory allows for the laws of gravity to be modified so we can test the effect of changes in gravity on galaxy formation.”

He also added:

 “Through our simulations, we have shown for the first time that even if you change gravity, it would not prevent disc galaxies with spiral arms from forming.”

He says:

 “our research definitely does not mean that general relativity is wrong, but it does show that it does not have to be the only way to explain gravity’s role in the evolution of the universe.”

The researchers took a look at the interaction between gravity in supermassive black holes and chameleon theory that sit at the center of the galaxies.

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