Author Mark Alpert is a contributing editor at Scientific American. During Friday's program, he delved into the latest in string theory and the frontiers of fundamental physics, including findings from the Large Hadron Collider. Alpert began by tackling dark energy and dark matter, which are thought to make up 90 percent of the energy content of universe. Dark matter seems to be holding galaxies together and dark energy seems to be accelerating the expansion of the universe, he explained, noting after decades of research scientists still have no idea what these two entities are. "Detection experiments have failed — we haven't found a single bit of dark matter yet," Alpert revealed.
A goal of physicists is to have a single set of equations that would describe all of the fundamental forces and particles of nature. "If you had such a [theory of everything], it could potentially bring all kinds of benefits to us that we can't even imagine," he said. One attempt a unification is string theory. According to Alpert, there is no experimental proof to support it, and researchers at the Large Hadron Collider have not been able to find any evidence either. He suggested with no experimental confirmation physicist may need to go back to drawing board with regard to string theory.
Open Lines followed in the latter half of the show. Colleen in New Mexico spoke about stars larger than the sun and the origin of the universe. "A star, concerning the Big Bang positioning, could grow to an amazing size where it would eventually nebulize and create the size of the known universe," she said. Colleen wondered who or what put all of the stars in the night sky. A caller from Kansas phoned in to recommend remote viewing as a possible tool to help locate people in Afghanistan. The evacuation was done backwards, he opined. George offered his own assessment of Afghanistan: "I don't think we should have gone in the way we did in the first place."
Michael from Arizona commented on the theory of evolution as well as time travel. According to Michael, that things evolve to survive, get better, and live may point to a divine hand. "If [evolution] was random... it could care less if it survives, but it cares and I think that provides some evidence of God," he suggested. Regarding time travel, Michael theorized about time traveling to the past. The moment one arrives in the past the timeline would skew and create a secondary timeline, he explained. According to Michael, a time traveler would have two options for returning: the original timeline and the new timeline.