TECH & SCIENCE
FOLLOWING on from last week, I’d thought we’d look at a few more weird and wacky concepts and hypotheses surrounding string theory.
In the previous article, I discussed the idea string theory proposes that there might in fact be other dimensions outside our ability to perceive, and that particles in our universe are tied together with other particles in these other dimensions.
This week we delve into things even further - brace yourself, things are about to get very strange.
The universe is only a two dimensional projection
In 1997, physicist Juan Maldacena proposed a variation on string theory: if every particle in the universe is made up of strings, then what if each string exists in only two dimensions, yet holds all of the information necessary for us to visualize three?
A modern day example of this would be virtual reality video games.
While wearing a VR headset, it certainly looks and feels like you are interacting with a 3D landscape, but in reality what you are looking at is a two dimensional screen - merely a projection.
While the notion might, at first estimation, seem absurd, it’s no secret that what we perceive our surroundings to be - and what they actually are - are two very different things.
But if the universe truly is just a giant 3D television, what does that say about us?
Black holes could be portals to different dimensions
This particular concept of string theory is well trodden in the science fiction world - space travellers use black holes and worms holes to shoot around space and time in just about every sci-fi tale out there.
Usually the intrepid travellers in these tales cross through black hole and wind up in some alternate history of the world - one where humans instead developed a complex cultural structure centred around the deification and worship of a pot plant they refer to - in hushed and awestruck tones - as Jim. Or something like that. But the reality of traversing black holes might be even weirder than my irreparably warped imagination.
Instead of alternate histories, being sucked into a black hole might just land you inside one or more of the other six dimensions proposed by hypothetical versions of string theory - wherein the laws of physics are entirely different to our own universe.
An interdimensional, kaleidoscopic destruction and rebirth of realities
We’ve all heard of the big bang - the expansion of matter, space and time from a singularity.
The event from which all of our known universe came into being, giving birth to the galaxies, stars, planets, and us. It’s all a bit passé if you ask me. The real question is what happened before there was even a before to be before?
One concept of string theory seeks to answer this question - and it involves hypothetical objects known as ‘branes’ and a theory known as the ‘brane-inflation’ scenario.
Branes, short for membranes, are hypothetical objects that exist on strings themselves.
Our observable universe - con- sisting on the three dimensions of space and time - is one brane, while brane cosmology suggests that other brains exist and contain other dimensions outside of our observable universe.
In the brane-inflation scenario of the origin of our universe, two nearby branes, both expanding, were drawn together and annihilated one another creating a mass of subatomic particles that coalesced, eventually forming a new brane - our observable universe and the dimensions it contains.
In this brane-inflation scenario, this series of events are cyclical and kaleidoscopic - meaning that the universe (s) are destroyed and created in an endless cascade of destruction and rebirth, with each new universe potentially governed by a different set of physical laws.
NEW DIMENSIONS: A 2D intersection of a multidimensional object known as the Calabi-Yau manifold.