Unlocking the modern world’s magnetic mysteries may prove key to the universe, say physicists from The University of Adelaide.
Dr Jonathan Hall and a research team from the Special Research Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter have developed a mathematical tool to explain a previously unexplained subatomic magnetic effect that underpins the working of medical scanners, lasers and computers.
“We discovered that the odd behaviour of a nucleus can be explained mathematically. This puts us all one step closer to understanding the structure of matter and the nature of the universe,” says Jonathan, an ARC Research Associate at the University of Adelaide.
In the nucleus of an atom, the microscopic world of quantum physics underpins a lot of modern technology. However, an extra magnetic effect in the nucleus has had no firm explanation. The new mathematical tool, Effective Field Theory, helps to explain this phenomenon.
“We want to know how matter is put together. Right now, we understand very little, fundamentally, about what goes on in a nucleus,” Jonathan says.
According to him, fundamental science has been a source of great insights and shifts in understanding many times throughout history. “It’s exciting to be on the forefront of discovery, where no one really understands what’s going on, to make progress, and to gain an inkling into the inner workings of matter in the universe,” Jonathan says.