Tuesday , January 18 2022

Cosmologist Valeria Pettorino wanders in the dark wood of Dante.



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In 2004, Italian theoretical cosmologist Valeria Pettorino wrote a doctoral dissertation on "Dark Energy in Generalized Gravity Theory". As part project, new song As a matter of geometry

"I felt that there was already mathematics in Dante's writing," Pettorino said recently.

The translation of Mark Dante's epic, Mark Musa, begins as follows:

Midway according to our life's journey
I find myself in the dark wood,
I wandered on the straight road.

The translation of Pettorino is as follows.

Given segment AB Of the same size as the length of our lives M. if D Dante is a man. D Coincide M.
Segment AB It must be in the darkness. DF.
Won-ju aspirate Exist and observe the field of darkness DF, A straight line R It is outside of such a circumference.

As part of the Creative Writing Group project, this re- fax – Respect for respectable writers and text. Pythagorean theorem became a story, Iliad It was a soccer match, and the Italian Constitution was expressed as a hendecasyllabic verse. "We liked the original, and we wanted to play with them and better understand them," Pettorino said.

She used storytelling from various angles as a guiding principle, approaching cosmology in the same spirit. After receiving her doctoral degree. In 2005 she traveled around the world with her observations, theories, methodological and statistical perspectives in her studies as she traveled to the universities of Heidelberg, New York, Geneva, Valencia and Naples, Torino and Trieste. Cosmos – a dark tree, like Dante. She considers all these approaches needed to solve the essence of dark matter and dark energy. 95% of the universe is a poorly understood substance that together make up.

It is not surprising that in 2016 Pettorino arrived at the CosmoStat laboratory in CEA Saclay, a laboratory 15 miles south of Paris. At CosmoStat, cosmologists and computer scientists collaborate to develop new statistical and signal processing methods for interpreting vast amounts of data from modern telescopes. This summer, Pettorino helped complete the final analysis of data from the European Space Agency Planck space telescope, which maps the early universe with unprecedented precision. Currently, Euclid uses the main space telescope of Euclid, which is scheduled to launch in 2022. Euclid collects 170 million gigabytes of data for billions of galaxies, sculpts the universe from multiple epochs, and tracks its evolution in the dark.

Quanta Magazine This summer we talked to Pettorino via Skype and organized the EuroPython annual conference for Python programming language users and helped with other extracurricular activities. The interviews were compiled in a terse summary.

You have a lot of interest. Tell me how you became a cosmologist.

I did not think about cosmology at all when I started physics. Even so, I was not very sure about physics. But physics has provided a great opportunity to combine different interests. At that time I lived in the city of Naples. I wanted to know people, live somewhere else and learn a language. I certainly liked logic and mathematics. And I have heard about the physics of my uncle, Roberto Pettorino. He was a string theorist. He told me about strings, multi-dimensional, time travel. And I liked science fiction. The author I read most was Philip José Farmer and Jack Vance, who had a lot of adventure and a lot of skill in the story, and because it was so realistic, I created the new world in great detail with something that did not exist but could easily exist. I liked the challenge. At that time, I took acting class and creative class. And I just said, "Let's physics!" Wondering about the whole picture, physics seemed like a good combination of logic, communication, and imagination. My main goal was to learn to cultivate knowledge to satisfy my curiosity.

How did you finally find cosmology?

I started physics as an undergraduate at the end of 1997, and there was an accelerating discovery in space in 1998. Much of the universe was not fully known, and this soon provoked curiosity. It was expected that the universe would expand after the Big Bang, and that the expansion of the universe was slowing down because gravity attracts things toward one another. Evidence from supernova explosions has shown that expansion is instead accelerated, as there is an extra energy form that neutralizes gravity and increases the rate of expansion. This is commonly referred to as "dark energy".

Since 1998 many other experiments have confirmed the same picture: normal atoms account for about 5% of the total energy budget of the universe. There is an additional 25 percent in the form of "dark matter". Dark matter still feels gravity, but we do not observe it directly; It acts as an adhesive to form structures such as galaxies and galaxies. The remaining 70% are dark energy and responsible for space acceleration.

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