schrodingers_rabbit writes: "Despite formidable odds, condensed matter physicists have made a breakthrough most thought impossible- finding a practical use for string theory. The initial breakthrough was made by physicist and cosmologist Juan Maldacena. His theory states that the known universe is only a 2D construct in anti-de-Sitter space, projected into 3 dimensions. This theory manages to model black holes and quantum theory congruently, a feat that bas eluded scientists for decades, but fails to correspond to the shape of space-time in the know universe. However, it does predict thermodynamic properties of black holes, including higher-dimensional viscosity- the equations for which almost exactly calculate the behavior of quark-gluon plasma and other super fluids. According to Jan Zaanen at the University of Leiden, "The theory is calculating precisely what we are seeing in experiments." Unfortunately, the correspondence cannot prove or disprove String Theory, although it is a positive step. Another aspect of the theory has been entirely overlooked. Despite the myriad licensing opportunities for a physical prediction of the closest thing physics has to a quasi-religion, the only spinoff created so far is a spoofed Macarena in honor of Maldacena's theory."
schrodingers_rabbit writes: "Despite physicist's increasing focus on the small, a recently created network of microwave telescopes could soon quite literally shed light on relativity's elephant in the room- the black hole. According to New Scientist magazine, a network of microwave telescopes with enough power to view the black hole in the center of our galaxy, Sagittarius A*, could be completed in mere months. Although the network is not yet complete, a team led by Shep Doeleman at MIT's Haystack Observatory has recorded hazy, incomplete images very close to the quality required to prove the existence of the black hole. The existence of the black hole would further validate general relativity, which predicts a supermassive black hole or similarly enormous object at the center of the galaxy."