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Researchers from Israel and Chile solved Newton's three-body puzzle from 330 years ago

This problem was first presented by Newton in his article "Principia" in which he described the laws of gravity and the motion of the planets. The statistical solution was discovered by Dr. Nicholas Stone from the Rakah Institute of Physics at the Hebrew University in collaboration with the researcher Nathan Lee from the University of Concepcion in Chile

Isaac Newton rewrites the laws of physics. Illustration: shutterstock
Isaac Newton rewrites the laws of physics. Illustration: shutterstock

The oldest problem in astrophysics receives a solution on paper and pen for the first time: researchers from the Hebrew University and Concepción University in Chile have published an article in the prestigious journal "Nature" describing for the first time a statistical solution to the famous problem in the scientific world, known as the "three-body problem".

When the famous scientist Sir Isaac Newton published the three laws of motion, he was able to use them to describe the elliptical orbit of the Earth around the Sun. Despite the scientific success of his time, when Newton added the moon, another third body, to the equations, the problem became complex and difficult to solve. This is how the famous problem got its name "the three-body problem" and remained open for about 330 years until today.

The main obstacle facing those trying to solve the "three body problem" stems from the system's chaotic software. Chaotic systems are difficult to describe because small changes in their initial state lead to huge changes in their final state. In recent years, researchers have managed to avoid the chaos of the "three-body problem" by carefully choosing the masses of the stars, but general systems containing three stars will usually be chaotic and difficult to predict. In order to overcome the difficulty and predict their position and speed over long periods of time, the scientist must make a fairly accurate measurement of their initial state, which is not possible as an experiment. Along with technological developments in the 20th and 21st centuries, researchers have used computer simulations to describe how three or more bodies in space move through space.

The computer simulations taught the scientists that over long periods of time systems with three bodies will disintegrate into a pair of stars and a third star separated from them. The interesting software allowed Dr. Nicholas Stone and Dr. Nathan Lee to turn the bowl upside down and treat the chaotic feature of the system as a tool instead of an obstacle. Chaotic systems have an interesting feature that allows the stars to be at all speeds and positions under the limitations of the laws of nature and the structure of the system. Thanks to this feature, the researchers discovered a formula with which they can predict the probability of the stars' velocities, their positions, the scattering angle at which the pair of stars separates from the third star, and more. The mathematical development was not at all simple and to make sure that the formulas correspond to the laws of physics, the researchers built simulations that simulated three stars in space and indeed the results corresponded to the theory.

The "three-body problem" is a very common problem in astrophysics. One of the open problems in space research examines the physical processes for merging black holes, and the conditions that would create a system of a pair of black holes in the first place. The main explanation given today focuses precisely on the statistical properties of the three bodies because over long periods of time such threes can form pairs of stars or black holes.

Dr. Stone excitedly described that "we hope that the solution we presented will be useful for problems in astrophysics and for researchers who wish to delve deeper into three-body systems, the dynamics of black holes and other objects in the universe. Beyond that, we are happy to present for the first time significant progress in the famous problem. A solution that can be written with a pen on a page, even if it is a probabilistic solution, is always better and even more useful for physicists with which they can imagine complex systems. In addition, I think there are those who will find a little satisfaction in our formulas because for the first time we used chaos as a tool and not as an obstacle to finding a statistical solution to the 'three-body problem'."

Dr. Nicholas Stone is a young researcher at the Rakeh Institute of Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Dr. Stone is funded by the NASA research fund and his research deals with many theoretical problems in astrophysics starting with gravitational waves, radiation bursts from black holes and unique systems in space.

17 תגובות

  1. To Yitzchak Uray.
    It seems to me that the answer to your ancient problem is the law of supply and demand.

  2. Hahahahaha Once upon a time I heard lectures by physicists and scientists, today it's easier to open the Zohar or the Gemara and everything that takes them years of research and a sea of ​​money appears there.
    In the end they are only rediscovering what the Torah discovered thousands of years ago.

  3. oak
    Mathematical calculation and simulation are better than the suggestion in your response. You were right - you are wrong.

  4. Interesting article.
    To the readers of the article: you should read on Wikipedia about the problem of the three bodies before reading this article

  5. What a quality of comments! There is an interesting article here, with a creative solution to an important problem that has remained open for about 300 years, and people are just disgusting. Unbelievable. Regardless, I'm not sure I'm right, but it makes sense to me - a mathematical solution is better than performing a physical simulation in terms of calculation speed (fewer vector operations are required). If this is true then it will be possible to send spacecraft to the moon (Genesis 8) with cheaper computers or alternatively to perform more simulations at a given time - reducing the chance of error.

  6. The word random in Hebrew can explain itself (like many other words)
    If we look at it: 'a-karai', the root is kara, and the letter at the beginning is negated, so the word means unreadable.
    But not unpredictable***, random should be - *legible* enough one data even in a very complex system to turn a problem into the beginning of a solution. Thanks to the pattern of the trio separating into a pair and then into a star and a trio (a fact that the computer simulation helped to extract) the chaotic system maintains a behavioral rule, and that with a psychotic mass of calculations is enough to reach a solution. The same goes for the lottery number machine. Apparently the result is random, but not unpredictable.... Once you know the position of the balls (doesn't have to be all of them) before the start, the degree of the driving force and the duration of the rotation of the balls here, too, the *exact* result can be known even more easily. but! Since the reliability of the lottery to provide the same conditions is questionable (see above the factor 'the reasonable human interest to abuse a position of power from the dawn of humanity to this very day***) it is a waste of time trying to solve. And now that you solved problems three hundred years ago, I have an older problem. I am simply anonymous but my problem belongs to everyone, no one has solved it until today. I think I have a solution, but there is only one problem. The human interest factor.

  7. Can I link to the article? And in general, make hyperlinks to the articles discussed in the articles

  8. Is anyone, here, even responsible for what is shown here - on the website? It seems that the editor eats cornflakes while he translates and then uploads articles to the site... Good morning, my father.

  9. Before I read her article, I didn't understand anything...after I read the article, I didn't understand anything, the genius of the Deter

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