Modern Dimension Theory

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Maybe the Universe is not infinite. Or even if it is, maybe all the matter is concentrated in our corner of it, in which case most of the other universes could be empty. But there is no obvious reason why that should be, and no sign so far that matter gets sparser the farther away we look. The second multiverse theory arises from our best ideas about how our own Universe began. According to the predominant view of the Big Bang, the Universe began as an infinitesimally tiny point and then expanded incredibly fast in a super-heated fireball.

A fraction of a second after this expansion began, it may have fleetingly accelerated at a truly enormous rate, far faster than the speed of light. This burst is called "inflation". Inflationary theory explains why the Universe is relatively uniform everywhere we look. Inflation blew up the fireball to a cosmic scale before it had a chance to get too clumpy.

However, that primordial state would have been ruffled by tiny chance variations, which also got blown up by inflation.

Five-dimensional space

These fluctuations are now preserved in the cosmic microwave background radiation, the faint afterglow of the Big Bang. This radiation pervades the Universe, but it is not perfectly uniform. Several satellite-based telescopes have mapped out these variations in fine detail, and compared them to those predicted by inflationary theory. The match is almost unbelievably good, suggesting that inflation really did happen. This suggests that we can understand how the Big Bang happened — in which case we can reasonably ask if it happened more than once.

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The current view is that the Big Bang happened when a patch of ordinary space, containing no matter but filled with energy, appeared within a different kind of space called the "false vacuum". It then grew like an expanding bubble. But according to this theory, the false vacuum should also experience a kind of inflation, causing it to expand at fantastic speed. Meanwhile, other bubble universes of "true vacuum" can appear within it — and not just, like our Universe, This scenario is called "eternal inflation".

It suggests there are many, perhaps infinitely many, universes appearing and growing all the time. But we can never reach them, even if we travel at the speed of light forever, because they are receding too fast for us ever to catch up.


The UK Astronomer Royal Martin Rees suggests that the inflationary multiverse theory represents a "fourth Copernican revolution": the fourth time that we have been forced to downgrade our status in the heavens. After Copernicus suggested Earth was just one planet among others, we realized that our Sun is just one star in our galaxy, and that other stars might have planets. Then we discovered that our galaxy is just one among countless more in an expanding Universe.

And now perhaps our Universe is simply one of a crowd. However, if eternal inflation does create a multiverse from an endless series of Big Bangs, it could help to resolve one of the biggest problems in modern physics. The fundamental constants of the laws of physics seem bizarrely fine-tuned to the values needed for life to exist. Some physicists have long been searching for a " theory of everything ": a set of basic laws, or perhaps just a single equation, from which all the other principles of physics can be derived. But they have found there are more alternatives to choose from than there are fundamental particles in the known universe.

Many physicists who delve into these waters believe that an idea called string theory is the best candidate for a "final theory". But the latest version offers a huge number of distinct solutions: 1 followed by zeros. Each solution yields its own set of physical laws, and we have no obvious reason to prefer one over any other.

The inflationary multiverse relieves us of the need to choose at all. If parallel universes have been popping up in an inflating false vacuum for billions of years, each could have different physical laws, determined by one of these many solutions to string theory. Things have to be the way we find them: if they were not, we would not be here and the question would never arise. For example, if the strength of the electromagnetic force were just a little different, atoms would not be stable.

Similarly, there is a delicate balance between gravity, which pulls matter towards itself, and so-called dark energy, which does the opposite and makes the Universe expand ever faster. This is just what is needed to make stars possible while not collapsing the Universe on itself. In this and several other ways, the Universe seems fine-tuned to host us.

This has made some people suspect the hand of God. Yet an inflationary multiverse, in which all conceivable physical laws operate somewhere, offers an alternative explanation. In every universe set up in this life-friendly way, the argument goes, intelligent beings will be scratching their heads trying to understand their luck. In the far more numerous universes that are set up differently, there is no one to ask the question.

This is an example of the "anthropic principle", which says that things have to be the way we find them: if they were not, we would not be here and the question would never arise. For many physicists and philosophers, this argument is a cheat: a way to evade rather than explain the fine-tuning problem. How can we test these assertions, they ask? Surely it is defeatist to accept that there is no reason why the laws of nature are what they are, and simply say that in other universes they are different? The trouble is, unless you have some other explanation for fine-tuning, someone will assert that God must have set things up this way.

The astrophysicist Bernard Carr has put it bluntly: " If you don't want God, you'd better have a multiverse ". Another kind of multiverse avoids what some see as the slipperiness of this reasoning, offering a solution to the fine-tuning problem without invoking the anthropic principle.

Modern Dimension Theory

In he proposed that universes might reproduce and evolve rather like living things do. On Earth, natural selection favours the emergence of "useful" traits such as fast running or opposable thumbs. In the multiverse, Smolin argues, there might be some pressure that favours universes like ours. He calls this "cosmological natural selection". Smolin's idea is that a "mother" universe can give birth to "baby" universes, which form inside it.

The mother universe can do this if it contains black holes. A black hole forms when a huge star collapses under the pull of its own gravity, crushing all the atoms together until they reach infinite density. This suggested to Smolin that a black hole could become a Big Bang, spawning an entire new universe within itself. If that is so, then the new universe might have slightly different physical properties from the one that made the black hole.

This is like the random genetic mutations that mean baby organisms are different from their parents. If a baby universe has physical laws that permit the formation of atoms, stars and life, it will also inevitably contain black holes. That will mean it can have more baby universes of its own. Over time, universes like this will become more common than those without black holes, which cannot reproduce.

View image of Could one universe create others? It is a neat idea, because our Universe then does not have to be the product of pure chance. If a fine-tuned universe arose at random, surrounded by many other universes that were not fine-tuned, cosmic natural selection would mean that fine-tuned universes subsequently became the norm. The details of the idea are a little woolly, but Smolin points out that it has one big advantage: we can test it. For example, if Smolin is right we should expect our Universe to be especially suited to making black holes.

This is a rather more demanding criterion than simply saying it should support the existence of atoms. But so far, there is no evidence that this is the case — let alone proof that a black hole really can spawn an entirely new universe. When Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity began to come to public attention in the s, many people speculated about the "fourth dimension" that Einstein had allegedly invoked.

What might be in there? A hidden universe, maybe? This was nonsense. Einstein was not proposing a new dimension. What he was saying was that time is a dimension, similar to the three dimensions of space. All four are woven into a single fabric called space-time, which matter distorts to produce gravity. Even so, other physicists were already starting to speculate about genuinely new dimensions in space.

The first intimation of hidden dimensions began with the work of the theoretical physicist Theodor Kaluza. In a paper Kaluza showed that, by adding an extra dimension to the equations of Einstein's theory of general relativity, he could obtain an extra equation that seemed to predict the existence of light. The Swedish physicist Oskar Klein offered an answer in Perhaps the fifth dimension was curled up into an unimaginably small distance: about a billion-trillion-trillionth of a centimetre.

In the modern version of string theory, known as M-theory, there are up to seven hidden dimensions. The idea of a dimension being curled may seem strange, but it is actually a familiar phenomenon. A garden hose is a three-dimensional object, but from far enough away it looks like a one-dimensional line, because the other two dimensions are so small. Similarly, it takes so little time to cross Klein's extra dimension that we do not notice it.

Physicists have since taken Kaluza and Klein's ideas much further in string theory. This seeks to explain fundamental particles as the vibrations of even smaller entities called strings. When string theory was developed in the s, it turned out that it could only work if there were extra dimensions. What's more, these dimensions need not be compact after all. They can be extended regions called branes short for "membranes" , which may be multi-dimensional. A brane might be a perfectly adequate hiding place for an entire universe. M-theory postulates a multiverse of branes of various dimensions, coexisting rather like a stack of papers.

If this is true, there should be a new class of particles called Kaluza-Klein particles. In theory we could make them, perhaps in a particle accelerator like the Large Hadron Collider.

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They would have distinctive signatures, because some of their momentum is carried in the hidden dimensions. These brane worlds should remain quite distinct and separate from each other, because forces like gravity do not pass between them. But if branes collide, the results could be monumental. Conceivably, such a collision could have triggered our own Big Bang. View image of Perhaps two branes collided Credit: Nicolle R. It has also been proposed that gravity, uniquely among the fundamental forces, might "leak" between branes. This leakage could explain why gravity is so weak compared to the other fundamental forces.

As Lisa Randall of Harvard University puts it: "if gravity is spread out over large extra dimensions, its force would be diluted. In , Randall and her colleague Raman Sundrum suggested that the branes do not just carry gravity, they produce it by curving space. In effect this means that a brane "concentrates" gravity, so that it looks weak in a second brane nearby. This could also explain why we could live on a brane with infinite extra dimensions without noticing them. If their idea is true, there is an awful lot of space out there for other universes.

Minimalist painters applied precise color and used the painting's support system in this case the canvas to draw the viewer's gaze to the flat canvas itself. Several of Stella's paintings were significant in this regard because of their unique shapes. By fitting the canvas to the contours of the paintings' colors, Stella redefined the traditional support system and made paint itself the painting's form. This stylistic shift in perspective was perceived as a gesture of pure flatness.

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Please stay tuned as we continue to update existing pages and build new ones. Thank you for your patronage! Flatness Introduction to Flatness Since humankind first began using tools to depict figurative forms in an artistic medium, the greatest challenge has been dealing with the two-dimensional surface. Aside from the literal flatness of the canvas surface itself, Greenberg focused on the depicted flatness, wherein the artist balances forms of color and line to create a painterly value that appears utterly flat.

He discussed the limitations of painting as a medium in much of his writing. It was the Old Masters who, according to him, struggled for centuries to break free from these limitations and create a depth of perspective in their work. Modern painters, however, have embraced such limitations. He wrote, "The enclosing shape of the picture was a limiting condition, or norm that was shared with the art of the theater; color was a norm and a means shared not only with the theater, but also with sculpture.

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Because flatness was the only condition painting shared with no other art, Modernist painting oriented itself to flatness as it did to nothing else. Painting, however, is applied to a natural two-dimensional surface, and modern artists had begun to embrace that nature rather than trying to defy it.

He paid close attention to Cubism as a defining moment for flatness in Modern art. The easel plane in Cubist paintings was a place for artists like Picasso and Braque to create spatial ambiguity; representation of form without a clear and singular perspective. Greenberg wrote that, " Rosenberg Full Section Overview. admin