Download Scientific American (August 2002) by Scientific American PDF

By Scientific American

Put on on conceal edges & corners. m107

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By Scientific American

Put on on conceal edges & corners. m107

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Extra resources for Scientific American (August 2002)

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If so, what could be the agent whose presence impedes acceleration and thus produces inertia? An exciting possibility is the vacuum. The vacuum is what is left when one annihilates all matter (or, equivalently, energy) that can be annihilated. According to quantum theory, the remnant is not a complete void but rather a minimal representation of all the forms of energy. The interaction of the vacuum with particles might contribute to the inertia of objects. Intriguingly, the vacuum also enters cosmology as one explanation for dark energy.

The work so far clearly provides a “proof of concept” that inhibiting glucose metabolism can re-create many effects of caloric restriction. Regrettably, however, 2DG has a fatal flaw preventing it from being the “magic pill” we were hoping for. Though safe at certain low levels, it apparently becomes toxic for some animals when the amount delivered is raised just a bit or given over long periods. The narrowness of the safety zone separating helpful and toxic doses would bar it from human use. We hope this is not a general feature of CR mimetics.

MOND correctly anticipated this. It also foresaw the magnitude of the discrepancies. Another success concerns the shape of galactic rotation curves— that is, the precise variation of orbital velocity with distance. Only since the late 1980s have astronomers made observations detailed enough to compare with theoretical predictions. And the correspondence with MOND is remarkable [see illustration on page 50]. These comparisons involve one parameter that must be adjusted for each galaxy: the conversion factor from starlight to mass.

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