Thursday, September 13, 2007

From dust to dust

Plasmoids as primitive life forms quantum controlled by dark matter at their "field/magnetic bodies" is one of basic predictions of TGD inspired quantum biology. For few years ago Romanian group of physicist found evidence that plasmoids indeed behave in many respects like primitive life forms.

Direct evidence for many-sheeted space-time

For a week or so ago I learned about mysterious spectral lines and bands in IR and visible region known by astrophysicists but having no identification in terms of chemistry (see this). I realized that they can be identified as lines resulting as electrons or protons drop to larger space-time sheets from smaller ones (zero point kinetic energy defining spectrum of universal metabolic quanta is liberated in the process). Thus they provide an additional strong support for the notion of many-sheeted space-time.

These lines and bands are associated with interstellar dust contain PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, basic candidates for simplest molecules involving electron pairs with hbar= n×hbar0, n=5 or 6): they are believed to be predecessors of our molecular life (DNA contains both 5- and 6- cycles, 4 aminoacids of appearing in proteins, and practically all hallucinogens but not alcohol). The conclusion was that this dust could be alive in plasmoid sense using UV light with energies above 7.5 eV from nearby hot stars as metabolic energy. The quanta at 4, 6, 8 eV might be important even for some primitive forms of ordinary life unless absorbed by air as most of UV in this range.

Dust as living system?

Yesterday evening a new shock came. I learned that interstellar dust indeed behaves like living matter in some respects: it can even have genetic code! This is a really shattering finding and with single blow destroys the standard dogma about life as something purely chemical (and visible in microscope as still believed by some of us - god grief;-)!). It should also give also some headaches for those influental colleagues who have decided that it is necessary to accept the anthropic principle in order to guarantee the continual funding of string theory;-). You certainly know the argument: string theory is the only known quantum theory of gravitation, blahblahblah...

Here is the link. In lack of anything better I copy here the brief popular article.

SCIENTISTS have discovered that inorganic material can take on the characteristics of living organisms in space, a development that could transform views of alien life.

An international panel from the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Max Planck institute in Germany and the University of Sydney found that galactic dust could form spontaneously into helixes and double helixes and that the inorganic creations had memory and the power to reproduce themselves.

A similar rethinking of prospective alien life is being undertaken by the National Research Council, an advisory body to the US government. It says Nasa should start a search for what it describes as “weird life” - organisms that lack DNA or other molecules found in life on Earth.

The new research, to be published this week in the New Journal of Physics, found nonorganic dust, when held in the form of plasma in zero gravity, formed the helical structures found in DNA. The particles are held together by electromagnetic forces that the scientists say could contain a code comparable to the genetic information held in organic matter. It appeared that this code could be transferred to the next generation.

Professor Greg Morfill, of the Max Planck institute of extra-terrestrial physics, said: “Going by our current narrow definitions of what life is, it qualifies.

“The question now is to see if it can evolve to become intelligent. It’s a little bit like science fiction at the moment. The potential level of complexity we are looking at is of an amoeba or a plant.

“I do not believe that the systems we are talking about are life as we know it. We need to define the criteria for what we think of as life much more clearly.”

It may be that science is starting to study territory already explored by science fiction. The television series The X-Files, for example, has featured life in the form of a silicon-based parasitic spore.

The Max Planck experiments were conducted in zero gravity conditions in Germany and on the International Space Station 200 miles above earth.

The findings have provoked speculation that the helix could be a common structure that underpins all life, organic and nonorganic.

To sum up the essentials, plasma phase is involved and the dust life is able to construct analogs of DNA double helices and this has been achieved also in laboratory. Unfortunately, I do not know what the scales in question are. "From dust to dust" seems to have a very deep side meaning!;-). This is all I know at this moment but it is clear that TGD inspired fractal quantum biology is now making a further breakthrough.

Addition. The article From Plasma crystals and helical structures towards inorganic living matter of Tsytovich et al is already in net in August issue of New Journal of Physics.

  1. The scale of the dust balls seems to be few micrometers. It is essential that the system is open in the sense that there is both metabolic energy feed and continual feed of plasma to negatively charged dust particles to preserve their charges. Authors speak about effective "gravitational" instability as a mechanism leading to the formation of the helices and identify effective gravitational coupling (the formula contains a trivial typo) as a function of charge and mass of the particle plus dimensionless parameter characterizing the modification of Debye model implied by the fact that dust particles are not electrically closed systems. Authors give a long list of life-like properties possessed by the helical structures.

  2. Helical structures are generated spontaneously and possess negative charges. The repulsion of the helical structures transforms to attraction at some critical distance interval due to the fact that the large electrostatic self energy depends on the distance between helices and this makes possible double helices (authors speak about over-screening in the formal model). Similar mechanism might work also in the case of ordinary DNA double helices whose stability is poorly understood since also in this case the large negative charge could be preserved by continual feed of charge.

  3. The twist angle of the helix makes bifurcations as a function of radius of helix and the values of twist angle could define the letters of genetic code. Also a mechanism for how the twist angle is communicated to neighboring helix is proposed. Also dust vortices are observed and might be those which one can occasionally observe during hot summer days.

  4. Authors do not mention magnetic fields but my guess is that the helical structures reflect directly the geometry of the helical magnetic flux tubes, and that dark electron pairs with large Planck constant at these tubes might be the quantal aspect of the system. These currents might relate closely to the plasma current, which charges the dust particles. Also DNA, which is insulator, is known to be able to act as conductor, and here the free electron pairs associated with aromatic rings having hbar= nhbar_0, n=5 or 6, could make conduction possible since their Compton size would be n-fold.

Elephant trunks in astrophysics

Then to another important finding supporting TGD view about Universe which might be seen as a fractally scaled variant of above helices. TGD Universe is fractal and this means that the visible structures are formed around magnetic flux quanta containing dark matter with large hbar appear in all length scales and have geometric patterns reflecting the exact discrete symmetries of dark matter acting as rotational symmetries of the field body and at the level of visible matter giving rise to broken symmetries typical for molecular structures. The helical structures found from the rings of some planets could be one example of fractal life.

For two weeks ago I learned about "elephant trunks" found by Hubble (I am grateful for Miika Väisälä telling about the trunks and for giving references to the papers about the finding). They appear in very wide range of length scales: at least from 1000 au to 1 pc. They are found in close connection with molecular clouds and HII regions excite by one or more young hot stars (a "metabolic connection" with the above mentioned unidentified bands and lines and PAHs present only if there is also UV source present does not look like a bad guess). In general the trunks are pointing like fingers to the hot stars. Here is abstract of the paper by Theory of twisted trunks by P. Carlquist, G. F. Gahm, and H. Kristen.

Using the 2.6 m Nordic Optical Telescope we have observed a large number of elephant trunks in several regions. Here, we present a small selection of this material consisting of a few large, well-developed trunks, and some smaller ones. We find that: (i) the well-developed trunks are made up of dark filaments and knots which show evidence of twisted structures, (ii) the trunks are connected with essentially two filamentary legs running in V-shape, and (iii) all trunks have the maximum extinction in their heads. We advance a theory of twisted elephant trunks which is based on the presence of magnetic flux ropes in molecular clouds where hot OB stars are formed. If the rope contains a local condensation it may adopt a V-shape as the region around the hot stars expands. If, in addition, the magnetic field in the rope is sufficiently twisted, the rope may form a double helix at the apex of the V. The double helix is identified with the twisted elephant trunks. In order to illustrate the mechanisms behind the double helix we have constructed a mechanical analogy model of the magnetic flux rope in which the rope has been replaced by a bundle of elastic strings loaded by a weight. Experiments with the model clearly show that part of the bundle will transform into a double helix when the twist of the bundle is sufficiently large. We have also worked out a simple theoretical model of a mass-loaded magnetic flux rope. Numerical calculations show that a double helix will indeed form when the twist of the rope exceeds a certain critical limit. Numerical model calculations are applied to both the analogy model experiments and one of the well-developed elephant trunks. On the basis of our model we also suggest a new interpretation of the so called EGGs.

The double helix mechanism is quite general, and should be active also in other suitable environments. One such environment may be the shell of supernova remnants. Another example is the expanding bubble outlined by the North Celestial Pole Loop.

For fractally thinking physicist consisting mostly of dark matter with large Planck constant this does not leave many options: life and even intelligent life is everywhere and in all length scales. This provides also a new view about Fermi paradox ( Where are they all?): I wrote for week ago a little article about TGD based solution of Fermi paradox. The article summarizes also the essentials of TGD, TGD based ontology, and TGD based quantum biology.

For more details see the chapter The New Physics Behind Qualia of "Quantum Hardware of Living Systems".


At 5:04 AM, Blogger Doug said...

Hi Matti,

The helix is important in mathematical game theory and information theory; probably in ballistics, mechanics and electromagnetism as well.

I suspect this is because the helicoid and catenoid are in isometry.

See slide 38 of 38 from Strings 07, U Wiedemann, 'Jet quenching in string theory ...': "Our task: find catenary".

At 12:04 AM, Blogger Matti Pitkanen said...

I agree. In the case of electromagnetism the linking of magnetic field lines leads automatically to helical structures in topological quantization cutting the magnetic field containing space-time to flux tubes.

I would like to gain a better understanding of the isometry aspect which is certainly important.


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