Thursday, 13 March 2008

Super Science – Weekday edition.

As regular readers will know I often publish a science themed post at the weekends. However I just couldn’t wait the extra day or so to run with the following.

Science Daily providing the added dimension.

According to a team of researchers at the Department of Physics and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech there may be a further dimension in the universe in addition to the four that are already known. Up and down, left and right, backwards and forwards and the time it takes you to do it.

Michael Kavic, graduate student and one of the investigators on the project explained “The idea we're exploring is that the universe has an imperceptibly small dimension (about one billionth of a nanometer) in addition to the four that we know currently.

This extra dimension would be curled up, in a state similar to that of the entire universe at the time of the Big Bang."

You start to see why this might be interesting.

The group is looking for small primordial black holes that, when they explode, may produce a radio pulse that could be detected here on Earth. These black holes are called primordial because they were created a fraction of a second after the beginning of the universe.

Black holes are expected to evaporate over time, losing mass and therefore shrinking. A black hole larger than the extra dimension would wrap around it like a thick rubber band wrapped around a hose. As a black hole shrinks down to the size of the extra dimension, it would be stretched so thin it would snap, causing an explosion which would create a radio pulse.

The Virginia Tech group is preparing to set up an Eight-meter-wavelength Transient Array radio telescope in Montgomery County to search the sky for these radio pulses from explosions up to 300 light years away.

If the evidence is found then it is suggested that there would need to be a revision of string theory, an area of physics that postulates that the fundamental building blocks of the universe are small strings of matter that oscillate. For string theory to work it is suggested that a minimum of 10 additional dimensions would be needed however the Virginia Tech model suggests that only one additional dimension is required.

"If we had evidence there is an extra dimension, it would really revolutionise how we think about space and time," Kavic said. "This would be a very exciting discovery."

Don’t know about you but I love this stuff.


The Secret Person said...

Yes I find this interesting too. The new Large Hadron Collider, turning on at CERN in Switzerland later this year also has the possibility to produce mini-Black Holes right here on earth!


Ole Phat Stu said...

Both relativity and Maxwell's equations are simplified if you do the maths in 5 dimensions. But that may just be a mathematician modelling life to make it simpler for himself ;-)