Science Questions

Where would extra dimensions reside?

Sun, 20th Mar 2011

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Question

Neerav Bhansali asked:

Dear Naked Scientists,

 

While having a look at string theory, I came across the possibility of there being more than 3 dimensions, in some versions of the theory there are 11, in some 26, etc.

For a while now I have been trying to contemplate on how these dimensions would fit in our universe; I have seen models of 6 dimensions, read and tried to understand explanations of minuscule circular dimensions, but wasn't able to comprehend it fully, as I do get what they're trying to say but I think that can't any of the places on the extra dimensions be found using the three common dimensions?

 

I would sincerely appreciate if you could answer my query, whether by e-mail or on a podcast.

 

Thank you, regards,

 

Neerav Bhansali

Answer

We posed this question to Dr Chris Leicester from the University of Cambridge...

Chris -   I think that the thing you have to picture is with a lot of these things, they would fit all around you, every part of your fingernail would have a latitude, a longitude, and a position in some of the extra dimensions, at least in some of the classes of theory.  There are others where the extra dimensions only gravity can fit into.  In which case, you still only have a latitude and longitude, and nothing else.

Dominic -   So if you imagine our 3-dimensional universe as being a sort of sheet in a much higher dimension of universe.

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Neerav Bhansali asked the Naked Scientists: Dear Naked Scientists, While having a look at string theory, I came across the possibility of there being more than 3 dimensions, in some versions of the theory there are 11, in some 26, etc. For a while now I have been trying to contemplate on how these dimensions would fit in our universe; I have seen models of 6 dimensions, read and tried to understand explanations of minuscule circular dimensions, but wasn't able to comprehend it fully, as I do get what they're trying to say but I think that can't any of the places on the extra dimensions be found using the three common dimensions? I would sincerely appreciate if you could answer my query, whether by e-mail or on a podcast. Thank you, regards, Neerav Bhansali What do you think? Neerav Bhansali , Tue, 1st Mar 2011

I am not sure of your question but the string theories you refer to assume that the extra dimensions are curled up and do not extend to +/- infinity like they would in Euclidean space.

Braneworld concepts have only 5 dimensions and have our universe residing on a 4D brane in a 5D space. Look up work by Prof. Lisa Randall for this.

As Lisa Randall explains, most of these concepts are not able to be visualised. They can be explained in words (maybe), but really only properly in mathematics. graham.d, Tue, 1st Mar 2011

They may be defined in mathematics :) but they do not become 'visualized' in the equations. And that's why you will find few people ready to describe them to you :) It's like describing that Cheshire cats smile, if black, in the dark of the night. It may be there, but I sure don't see it :) yor_on, Tue, 1st Mar 2011

Threads like this, that start with a specific question, often wander of in various directions.  In a way, I hope this one does that because there are lots of things I am unclear about, especially where rolled up dimensions are concerned. 

Because string theory involves rolled up dimensions and alternative  universes, there are even more location questions to deal with.  I find myself wondering why it seems quite acceptable to have trillions of other universes overlapping ours, which we cannot detect, yet extra dimensions have to be rolled to oblivion to avoid detection. 

Of course, the other universes may be rolled up in our Universe, and extended only in their own frames of reference.  The trouble with that is that our Universe would then have to be rolled up in trillions of other universes.  I'm still trying to get my head around that possibility. Bill S, Tue, 1st Mar 2011

Maybe in moebius strip? We going into theirs going into ours going into...
At least it should decrease their overall wear?

"Make your universe last", the moebious theory is here :)
A nice one.. yor_on, Tue, 1st Mar 2011

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