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Saturday, February 3, 2007

Seeing 10th Dimensional Space

Peering backward in time to an instant after the big bang, physicists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have devised an approach that may help unlock the hidden shapes of alternate dimensions of the universe.
A new study demonstrates that the shapes of extra dimensions can be "seen" by deciphering their influence on cosmic energy released by the violent birth of the universe 13 billion years ago. The method provides evidence that physicists can use experimental data to discern the nature of these elusive dimensions - the existence of which is a critical but as yet unproven element of string theory, the leading contender for a unified "theory of everything."

Don't worry if you can't picture a 10-dimensional world. Our minds are accustomed to only three spatial dimensions and lack a frame of reference for the other six. Though scientists use computers to visualize what these six-dimensional geometries could look like, no one really knows for sure what shape they take.

To learn how to read telltale signs of the six-dimensional geometry from the cosmic map, they worked backward. Starting with two different types of mathematically simple geometries, called warped throats, they calculated the predicted energy map that would be seen in the universe described by each shape. When they compared the two maps, they found small but significant differences between them. link