We don’t see or feel more dimensions; nevertheless, theoretical physics predicts that they should exist. interesting, but are there any practical implications? can they become part of applied physics?
Just think of an inflating balloon seen only from the perspective of its growing two-dimensional surface, and extrapolate to four-dimensional inflation perceived in the three-dimensional space that we can see. That perspective suggests that three-dimensional space could be curved, folded, or warped into a 4th dimension the way that the two dimensional surface of a balloon is warped into a 3rd dimension.
Interesting, but are there any practical implications? Can they become part of applied physics? Teaching about the 4th dimension, physicists have used analogies, like drawings of something called a hypercube, and even the 19th century novella Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott.
The book imagines two-dimensional beings living on a planar world that has only length and width. Unable to perceive a third dimension, the Flatlanders see only one plane of three-dimensional visitors, kind of like how computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging shows the body in slices. Two slices through We are multidimensional beings leg, one a few millimeters up from the other, look almost the same, but a slice through the waist or chest gives a very different picture.
We can relate to this analogy, imagining our three-dimensional environment as just one of an infinite of slices of a four-dimensional environment. But moving beyond four dimensions, it gets even weirder, and very hard to visualize.
What is living as a multidimensional being?
In M theory there are a bunch of dimensions, either 10 or 11, depending on who explains it to you. Like a jack-in-the box, it might be possible to unpack the extra dimensions, says Richard Obousy, director of Icarus Interstellara non-profit organization promoting starship research. If we could find a way to go through other dimensions, the balloon analogy tells us We are multidimensional beings should allow a kind of tunneling to locations that look distant from the perspective of the three dimensions that we perceive. It is far less clear, however, whether we could tunnel into other time periods, future or past.
Any fans of Star Trek know that the philosophy of time travel into the past is mind-boggling, because you could change history, prevent the series of events that caused your existence in the first place, yada, yada, yada. But time travel to the future — accelerating from the usual move into the future of one minute per minute, one year per year — requires no philosophy.
Moreover, we know how to do it. Travel very close to the speed of light cand time slows down from your perspective and the slowing is quantified by a variable known as the gamma factor. On a ship moving just under 0.
Another means of transport made possible by a multidimensional cosmos is wormholes. When Carl Sagan needed a realistic way for humans to travel interstellar distances for his story Contacthe consulted theoretical physicist Kip Thorne.
Working with a couple of his best graduate students at the California Institute of Technology, Thorne worked out the equations showing that, indeed, there was a way: a stable, traversable wormhole, or even a system of such tunnels linking different areas of space-time. An advanced civilization could build a system of wormhole-dependent tunnels connecting different points of the space-time fabric, essentially drawing the departure and arrival points in We are multidimensional beings fabric into close proximity to one another through a 4th dimension.
If we could do it, we could have an entry portal nearby, somewhere in the inner Solar System, that le to an exit point at our destination, for instance a nearby star system with an Earth-like planet.
Because of mathematically complex findings derived from equations in general relativity known as the Einstein field equations, technology that can warp space, whether for warp drive or traversable wormholes, would require a phenomenon called negative energy. Intuitively it is difficult to visualize what negative energy is, but its existence is consistent with a well-established area of physics known as quantum field theory. In fact, using the technology of quantum optics and a phenomenon called the Casimir effect, physicists have actually produced a kind of negative energy already in tiny quantities negative vacuum energy.
According to Eric Davis, Senior Research Physicist at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin, Texas, who is an expert on faster-than-light propulsion concepts, the most promising way to do this is with a quantum optic device called a Ford-Svaiter mirror. It would concentrate the negative vacuum energy.
Why you should care
If you do it with a small Ford-Svaiter mirror, it would produce a mini-wormhole, but Davis says that the device could then be scaled up to make wormholes bigger and bigger, eventually big enough for a spaceship to enter. We could explore that star system, and no doubt we would do so particularly if it contains a habitable planet that we could colonize, but we could also use it as a staging point to go further.
Thus, little by little, we could create wormhole network of sorts, in our little corner of the galaxy. Or, perhaps, at some point, our tunneling might tap into an already existing network similar to what Sagan imagined. Register or Log In. The Magazine Shop. Register Stay Curious Subscribe.
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