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Test the big bang theory

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The two-time Oscar nominee was detained in Copenhagen by immigration police this week and handled with “unnecessary force.”
Feras Fayyad, the two-time Academy Award nominee behind Last Men in Aleppo and The Cave, has yet to be able to secure an extended U.S. visa — despite his recent Oscar nomination for best documentary and multiple other awards.

The Cave, distributed by National Geographic Documentary Films in the U.S., has earned the Syrian filmmaker universal acclaim, so has visa struggles have not gone unnoticed. This week alone, the TV Academy and the International Documentary Association were among the entertainment organizations that implored the State Department to grant Fayyad entry.

Still, efforts to get him to the U.S. have been unsuccessful. The Cave producer Sigrid Dyekjaer offered an update on his efforts during a Friday panel for The Cave at the Television Critics Association, saying that Fayyad had been detained by immigration police.

“Things escalated two nights ago when I got a phone call at 12.30 a.m,” said Dyekjaer. “Feras had been detained on his way into Copenhagen by immigration police. I rushed to the airport. Feras told me the police used unnecessary force in detaining him. The past month has been a lot for a man who has been imprisoned and tortured in Syria.”

Dyekjaer went on to say that Fayyad plans to go back to the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen early next week to resume his efforts. She listed off a number of other entertainment organizations that have made petitions on his behalf.

Read the full statement below:

We were hoping that Feras Fayyad could be here with us today.

As has been widely reported, in December Feras was denied an extended U.S. visa by the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen and has missed several industry events, including the IDA Awards and Cinema Eye Awards.

He has had quite the ordeal these past weeks.

While waiting on the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen to grant him another appointment, Feras received news that his aunt’s house was bombed and his parents’ and childhood home was in the line of fire in Syria.

As the oldest of 10, he feels a great responsibility for his siblings and his parents. So, instead of continuing to wait on the embassy, Feras went to Turkey to be as close to his family as possible and help in any way he could.

The past few weeks for Feras have been filled with a lot of fear. A lot of anger. A lot of anxiety.

He remained in Turkey until two days ago, when we had positive indications the embassy was willing to revisit his case.

Feeling his family is out of immediate danger for now, Feras decided to return to Denmark.

However, things escalated two nights ago when I got a phone call at 12.30 a.m. Feras had been detained on his way into Copenhagen by immigration police.

I rushed to the airport. Feras told me the police used unnecessary force in detaining him. The past month has been a lot for a man who has been imprisoned and tortured in Syria, and whose family is under threat and has siblings spread all over Europe.

Feras was distraught, exhausted and felt discriminated against. The police eventually released him into my care.

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After this ordeal and given there was no way to get here by today, Feras is instead spending the weekend with his 5-year-old daughter – who hasn’t seen him in over six weeks.

Our next step is to go back to the embassy early next week and try again for the necessary visa so he can come to the U.S.

National Geographic has been communicating with the U.S. State Department, and we have had an overwhelming show of support from the documentary community and entertainment industry at large, including:

• The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences
• The Television Academy & The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
• The Director’s Guild of America
• The International Documentary Association
• The Minister for Culture of Denmark
• The Danish Film Institute
• The association of Danish Film Directors

Feras is a filmmaker, but first and foremost he’s a Syrian. THE CAVE is a very personal film. It is dedicated to his seven sisters. To his daughter. To the unnamed women he witnessed being jailed and tortured in Syrian prisons because they’re women.

His voice is important and it deserves to be heard, now more than ever. After all, we are talking about a brilliant filmmaker who is now a two-time Academy Award nominee — and my dear friend.

Feras — and all of us — thank you all for your continued support.

A New Test for the Leading Big Bang Theory

The leading hypothesis about the universe’s birth — that a quantum speck of space became energized and inflated in a split second, creating a baby cosmos — solves many puzzles and fits all observations to date. Yet this “cosmic inflation” hypothesis lacks definitive proof. Telltale ripples that should have formed in the inflating spatial fabric, known as primordial gravitational waves, haven’t been detected in the geometry of the universe by the world’s most sensitive telescopes. Their absence has fueled underdog theories of cosmogenesis in recent years. And yet cosmic inflation is wriggly. In many variants of the idea, the sought-after ripples would simply be too weak to observe.

“The question is whether one can test the entire scenario, not just specific models,” said Avi Loeb, an astrophysicist and cosmologist at Harvard University. “If there is no guillotine that can kill off some theories, then what’s the point?”

In a new paper that appeared on the physics preprint site, arxiv.org, on Sunday, Loeb and two Harvard colleagues, Xingang Chen and Zhong-Zhi Xianyu, suggested such a guillotine. The researchers predicted an oscillatory pattern in the distribution of matter throughout the cosmos that, if detected, could distinguish between inflation and alternative scenarios — particularly the hypothesis that the Big Bang was actually a bounce preceded by a long period of contraction.

The paper has yet to be peer-reviewed, but Will Kinney, an inflationary cosmologist at the University at Buffalo and a visiting professor at Stockholm University, said “the analysis seems correct to me.” He called the proposal “a very elegant idea.”

“If the signal is real and observable, it would be very interesting,” Sean Carroll of the California Institute of Technology said in an email.

Any potential hints about the Big Bang are worth looking for, but the main question, according to experts, is whether the putative oscillatory pattern will be strong enough to detect. It might not be a clear-cut guillotine as advertised.

If it does exist, the signal would appear in density variations across the universe. Imagine taking a giant ice cream scoop to the sky and counting how many galaxies wind up inside. Do this many times all over the cosmos, and you’ll find that the number of scooped-up galaxies will vary above or below some average. Now increase the size of your scoop. When scooping larger volumes of universe, you might find that the number of captured galaxies now varies more extremely than before. As you use progressively larger scoops, according to Chen, Loeb and Xianyu’s calculations, the amplitude of matter density variations should oscillate between more and less extreme as you move up the scales. “What we showed,” Loeb explained, is that from the form of these oscillations, “you can tell if the universe was expanding or contracting when the density perturbations were produced” — reflecting an inflationary or bounce cosmology, respectively.

Regardless of which theory of cosmogenesis is correct, cosmologists believe that the density variations observed throughout the cosmos today were almost certainly seeded by random ripples in quantum fields that existed long ago.

Because of quantum uncertainty, any quantum field that filled the primordial universe would have fluctuated with ripples of all different wavelengths. Periodically, waves of a certain wavelength would have constructively interfered, forming peaks — or equivalently, concentrations of particles. These concentrations later grew into the matter density variations seen on different scales in the cosmos today.

But what caused the peaks at a particular wavelength to get frozen into the universe when they did? According to the new paper, the timing depended on whether the peaks formed while the universe was exponentially expanding, as in inflation models, or while it was slowly contracting, as in bounce models.

If the universe contracted in the lead-up to a bounce, ripples in the quantum fields would have been squeezed. At some point the observable universe would have contracted to a size smaller than ripples of a certain wavelength, like a violin whose resonant cavity is too small to produce the sounds of a cello. When the too-large ripples disappeared, whatever peaks, or concentrations of particles, existed at that scale at that moment would have been “frozen” into the universe. As the observable universe shrank further, ripples at progressively smaller and smaller scales would have vanished, freezing in as density variations. Ripples of some sizes might have been constructively interfering at the critical moment, producing peak density variations on that scale, whereas slightly shorter ripples that disappeared a moment later might have frozen out of phase. These are the oscillations between high and low density variations that Chen, Loeb and Xianyu argue should theoretically show up as you change the size of your galaxy ice cream scoop.

These oscillations would also arise if instead the universe experienced a period of rapid inflation. In that case, as it grew bigger and bigger, it would have been able to fit quantum ripples with ever larger wavelengths. Density variations would have been imprinted on the universe at each scale at the moment that ripples of that size were able to form.

The authors argue that a qualitative difference between the forms of oscillations in the two scenarios will reveal which one occurred. In both cases, it was as if the quantum field put tick marks on a piece of tape as it rushed past — representing the expanding or contracting universe. If space were expanding exponentially, as in inflation, the tick marks imprinted on the universe by the field would have grown farther and farther apart. If the universe contracted, the tick marks should have become closer and closer together as a function of scale. Thus Chen, Loeb and Xianyu argue that the changing separation between the peaks in density variations as a function of scale should reveal the universe’s evolutionary history. “We can finally see whether the primordial universe was actually expanding or contracting, and whether it did it inflationarily fast or extremely slowly,” Chen said.

CBS/Metro

They became your new best friends after Monica, Chandler and co left us but how well have you really been watching The Big Bang Theory?

Could you name Sheldon’s favourite Chinese takeout? Do you know what number his and Leonard’s apartment is? What about what Howard has hanging above his bed?

To test your knowledge of the best sitcom since Friends, we’ve put together this tricky little quiz that would given even Sheldon a run for his money.

Let us know you get on by writing in the comments section below or tweeting us @Metro_Ents…

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‘The Big Bang Theory’: Los 28 mejores cameos de la serie

21. Bob Newhart + Bob Newhart interpretó al Profesor Protón, un científico con una carrera televisiva e ídolo de la infancia de Sheldon y Leonard. Álbum de Fotos © CBS

The Big Bang Theory, la aclamada ‘sitcom’ creada por Chuck Lorre, se despedía para siempre el pasado mayo, dejando un hueco en los corazones de todos los fans y ‘geeks’ seguidores de la comedia.

La comedia se centra en un grupo de amigos cuyos conocimientos de física son muy elevados, pero sus habilidades sociales no tanto. La vida de Leonard, Sheldon, Howard y Raj, giran por completo con la aparición de nueva vecina Penny. Tras doce temporadas, los protagonistas van encontrando poco a poco su lugar en el mundo, también acompañados de Amy y Bernadette.

La serie tiene muchas cosas que la hacen especial, pero sin duda, los cameos están en cabeza. Los platós de la ficción han tenido toda clase de visitas, y todas de gran interés, como Bill Gates, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Octavia Spencer, Stan Lee o Stephen Hawking.

Seguro que, si eras fan de la ‘sitcom’, te llena de nostalgia pensar en las divertidas escenas que los invitados nos ofrecieron y no te culpamos. Sin embargo, aún puedes ver el ‘spin-off’ de CBS -en España puedes verlo en Movistar+- El joven Sheldon. A pesar de que el actor que da vida a Sheldon, Jim Parsons, fue quien decidió no seguir más en la icónica serie, un ‘spin-off’ de The Big Bang Theory aún podría darse y podría estar centrado en otros personajes, como Leonard y Penny.

Mientras tanto, puedes disfrutar de nuestra recopilación de los mejores cameos de la comedia más arriba.

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