I was so excited when I got the news. CERN confirmed with 99.92% certainty that the LHC has discovered “extra dimensions”. By “extra dimensions”, I mean spatial dimensions (not counting time) other than the regular 3 dimensions (length, depth and height). In fact, I’m so excited that I’m surprised I managed to add a relatively sane title to this post.
The LHC was built by CERN after 10 years of hard work in order to test the predictions of different theories of particle and high energy physics. CERN has just confirmed observations of extra dimensions when an electron began behaving very queer after the collider achieved 13.2 TeV (that’s 0.000002114874 joules). Now I know that if you’re familiar with quantum theory, you’d say “de Broglie effect, dude. Electrons are weird.” But this is totally different. The electron “ceased to be detectable” for quite a while (in physics, 0.0000000003 seconds can be “quite a while”). So? So, this means that the electron did a quick zip through some other dimension we cannot comprehend. You can think about it this way. Imagine you are a 2D person on a plane of paper. A dot you see which is actually a pencil tip mysteriously disappears when the pencil is lifted off the paper. (I know this example is not scientifically valid, but hey, apply this analogy to the 3D person watching a point (the electron) disappear)
Where do extra dimensions come from?
Nowhere. They are always there. We could be like 2D people living on the surface of a sphere with no means to know that there is a thing called a third dimension. String Theory predicts that extra dimensions are curled up in very small sizes (in physics, very small is very very very very very small) as something known as a Calabi–Yau manifold.
The discovery was confirmed when a beam of photons behaved in equally perplexing ways. I’m not going to explain how Calabi-Yau spaces work because
I don’t want to bore you I don’t know how they work myself. (Higher dimensional algebraic geometry hurts a lot of people’s branes (terrible pun intended)) These rolled up dimensions probably inflated a little more under the high energy just large enough for photons and electrons to slip through.
What this means
For physicists and physics enthusiasts
- String theory is possibly on the right path.
- Detecting gravitons (and thus finally unifying quantum mechanics and general relativity) should be one step closer.
- Nobel Prizes (this will be a tough competitor to those gravitational waves)
For Star Trek and Doctor Who fans
- Warp drive and wormholes are one step closer.
- The technology that enables TARDIS to be larger on the inside than it appears should be easier to build. Now all we need is time travel.
For people who identify as neither of the first two
Why are you still reading this? Just kidding. While it may take a while (this is not the “a while” in physics, FYI), in the far future a lot of our technology will be based on this. Like smaller suitcases with larger capacity, intergalactic travel and going by current trends, half a million mobile apps (not to mention videos of cats jumping in and out of higher dimensional portals).
You can read the original announcement on CERN’s official site.
Or you can check out this link here.