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In search of hidden dimensions
Nature ^ | January 6, 2004 | Geoff Brumfiel

Posted on 01/09/2005 12:26:51 PM PST by snarks_when_bored

click here to read article


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1 posted on 01/09/2005 12:26:52 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: RadioAstronomer

Ping


2 posted on 01/09/2005 12:27:19 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored

3 posted on 01/09/2005 12:33:46 PM PST by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: billorites

That's not a hidden dimension!


4 posted on 01/09/2005 12:39:15 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored
"... no less than six cups of espresso during our hour-and-a-half interview..."

Wired while studying strings.

This is interesting. I've always thought that besides height, width and depth, time and gravity are also dimensional

5 posted on 01/09/2005 12:50:38 PM PST by Mikey (Freedom isn't free, but slavery is.)
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To: snarks_when_bored
The son of two Iranian physicists, Arkani-Hamed was born in Houston, Texas, and grew up in Boston. After the Iranian revolution of 1979, his family returned to their homeland, but as religious fundamentalists took over the government, his father was forced to go underground and the family eventually had to flee across the border to Turkey. By 1982, Nima was living in Toronto, Canada.

The free world benefits from oppression once again, though Canada barely qualifies.

6 posted on 01/09/2005 12:55:50 PM PST by Moonman62 (Republican - The political party for the living.)
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To: billorites
E = MC6 ... not good.

E = MC5 ... no.

E = MC4 ... nope, not that.

E = MC3 ... nah, doesn't work.

Ah, screw it.

7 posted on 01/09/2005 1:01:27 PM PST by robertpaulsen
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To: Mikey

You're right about height, width, depth and time being the standard four dimensions of spacetime. But gravity is not a dimension; it's one of the four fundamental forces, the other three being electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force.


8 posted on 01/09/2005 1:01:33 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: Mikey

I should have added that current versions of string theory require that there be additional spatial dimensions (up to 6 or even 7 more). Since these dimensions haven't been observed, it has been conjectured that they're quite tiny (curled up into up into any of a myriad of possible shapes). The present article discusses the possibility of getting experimental confirmation of these extra dimensions.


9 posted on 01/09/2005 1:06:20 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: Moonman62

Right on both counts.


10 posted on 01/09/2005 1:07:09 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored
You're right about height, width, depth and time being the standard four dimensions of spacetime. But gravity is not a dimension; it's one of the four fundamental forces, the other three being electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force.

Gravity sucks . . .
11 posted on 01/09/2005 1:12:02 PM PST by Beckwith (John, you said I was going to be the First Lady. As of now, you're on the couch.)
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To: snarks_when_bored
So in theory, this theory will be tested in 2008 when the first results of CERN come in? He needs more espresso. I'm only wired on regular coffee and cigars and feeling like an extra dimension is hovering just out of reach of my nose...
12 posted on 01/09/2005 1:16:00 PM PST by cake_crumb (Leftist Credo: "One Wing to Rule Them all and to the Dark Side Bind Them")
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To: All
This piece by Paul Steinhardt is not exactly on-topic, but Steinhardt does mention some drawbacks to string theory while disparaging the anthropic principle:

PAUL STEINHARDT
Albert Einstein Professor of Physics, Princeton University.

I believe that our universe is not accidental, but I cannot prove it.

Historically, most physicists have shared this point-of-view. For centuries, most of us have believed that the universe is governed by a simple set of physical laws that are the same everywhere and that these laws derive from a simple unified theory.

However, in the last few years, an increasing number of my most respected colleagues have become enamored with the anthropic principle—the idea that there is an enormous multiplicity of universes with widely different physical properties and the properties of our particular observable universe arise from pure accident. The only special feature of our universe is that its properties are compatible with the evolution of intelligent life. The change in attitude is motivated, in part, by the failure to date to find a unified theory that predicts our universe as the unique possibility. According to some recent calculations, the current best hope for a unified theory—superstring theory—allows an exponentially large number of different universes, most of which look nothing like our own. String theorists have turned to the anthropic principle for salvation.

Frankly, I view this as an act of desperation. I don't have much patience for the anthropic principle. I think the concept is, at heart, non-scientific. A proper scientific theory is based on testable assumptions and is judged by its predictive power. The anthropic principle makes an enormous number of assumptions—regarding the existence of multiple universes, a random creation process, probability distributions that determine the likelihood of different features, etc.—none of which are testable because they entail hypothetical regions of spacetime that are forever beyond the reach of observation. As for predictions, there are very few, if any. In the case of string theory, the principle is invoked only to explain known observations, not to predict new ones. (In other versions of the anthropic principle where predictions are made, the predictions have proven to be wrong. Some physicists cite the recent evidence for a cosmological constant as having anticipated by anthropic argument; however, the observed value does not agree with the anthropically predicted value.)

I find the desperation especially unwarranted since I see no evidence that our universe arose by a random process. Quite the contrary, recent observations and experiments suggest that our universe is extremely simple. The distribution of matter and energy is remarkably uniform. The hierarchy of complex structures ranging from galaxy clusters to subnuclear particles can all be described in terms of a few dozen elementary constituents and less than a handful of forces, all related by simple symmetries. A simple universe demands a simple explanation. Why do we need to postulate an infinite number of universes with all sorts of different properties just to explain our one?

Of course, my colleagues and I are anxious for further reductionism. But I view the current failure of string theory to find a unique universe simply as a sign that our understanding of string theory is still immature (or perhaps that string theory is wrong). Decades from now, I hope that physicists will be pursuing once again their dreams of a truly scientific "final theory" and will look back at the current anthropic craze as millennial madness.


13 posted on 01/09/2005 1:30:24 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: cake_crumb

Maybe that's a floating, er, cake crumb??


14 posted on 01/09/2005 1:31:18 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored

Let's say a star is formed a thousand light years from earth. How long before the gravity from the newly formed star reaches earth? IOW, how fast does gravity travel?


15 posted on 01/09/2005 1:32:45 PM PST by Ken H
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To: snarks_when_bored
Wow, that's not the way it looked in preview! Let me try it again:


PAUL STEINHARDT
Albert Einstein Professor of Physics, Princeton University.

I believe that our universe is not accidental, but I cannot prove it.

Historically, most physicists have shared this point-of-view. For centuries, most of us have believed that the universe is governed by a simple set of physical laws that are the same everywhere and that these laws derive from a simple unified theory.

However, in the last few years, an increasing number of my most respected colleagues have become enamored with the anthropic principle—the idea that there is an enormous multiplicity of universes with widely different physical properties and the properties of our particular observable universe arise from pure accident. The only special feature of our universe is that its properties are compatible with the evolution of intelligent life. The change in attitude is motivated, in part, by the failure to date to find a unified theory that predicts our universe as the unique possibility. According to some recent calculations, the current best hope for a unified theory—superstring theory—allows an exponentially large number of different universes, most of which look nothing like our own. String theorists have turned to the anthropic principle for salvation.

Frankly, I view this as an act of desperation. I don't have much patience for the anthropic principle. I think the concept is, at heart, non-scientific. A proper scientific theory is based on testable assumptions and is judged by its predictive power. The anthropic principle makes an enormous number of assumptions—regarding the existence of multiple universes, a random creation process, probability distributions that determine the likelihood of different features, etc.—none of which are testable because they entail hypothetical regions of spacetime that are forever beyond the reach of observation. As for predictions, there are very few, if any. In the case of string theory, the principle is invoked only to explain known observations, not to predict new ones. (In other versions of the anthropic principle where predictions are made, the predictions have proven to be wrong. Some physicists cite the recent evidence for a cosmological constant as having anticipated by anthropic argument; however, the observed value does not agree with the anthropically predicted value.)

I find the desperation especially unwarranted since I see no evidence that our universe arose by a random process. Quite the contrary, recent observations and experiments suggest that our universe is extremely simple. The distribution of matter and energy is remarkably uniform. The hierarchy of complex structures ranging from galaxy clusters to subnuclear particles can all be described in terms of a few dozen elementary constituents and less than a handful of forces, all related by simple symmetries. A simple universe demands a simple explanation. Why do we need to postulate an infinite number of universes with all sorts of different properties just to explain our one?

Of course, my colleagues and I are anxious for further reductionism. But I view the current failure of string theory to find a unique universe simply as a sign that our understanding of string theory is still immature (or perhaps that string theory is wrong). Decades from now, I hope that physicists will be pursuing once again their dreams of a truly scientific "final theory" and will look back at the current anthropic craze as millennial madness.


16 posted on 01/09/2005 1:33:57 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored

Go figure. Now the original posting looks okay. Sorry...


17 posted on 01/09/2005 1:34:43 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: Ken H

Gravity is currently thought to travel at the speed of light.


18 posted on 01/09/2005 1:35:44 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored
Gravity is currently thought to travel at the speed of light.

Is it possible, in theory at least, to use gravity to transmit and receive information as is done with electricity and light?

19 posted on 01/09/2005 1:42:59 PM PST by Ken H
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To: Ken H
Is it possible, in theory at least, to use gravity to transmit and receive information as is done with electricity and light?

In theory, it's possible, but in practice it would be devilishly difficult (and would require an engineering expertise which is almost impossible to imagine). Almost the only events that produce gravitational disturbances that we could hope to detect are collapses of stars into neutron stars or black holes, or the orbiting of a neutron star around a black hole. So we'd have to figure out a way of using such phenomena to send gravitational signals.

I'm not holding my breath over here.

20 posted on 01/09/2005 2:00:04 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: VadeRetro; Junior; longshadow; RadioAstronomer; Doctor Stochastic; js1138; Shryke; RightWhale; ...
Science Ping! This is an elite subset of the Evolution ping list.
See the list's description in my freeper homepage. Then FReepmail me to be added or dropped.

21 posted on 01/09/2005 2:00:06 PM PST by PatrickHenry (The List-O-Links for evolution threads is at my freeper homepage.)
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To: DoctorZIn

"The son of two Iranian physicists, Arkani-Hamed was born in Houston, Texas, and grew up in Boston. After the Iranian revolution of 1979, his family returned to their homeland, but as religious fundamentalists took over the government, his father was forced to go underground and the family eventually had to flee across the border to Turkey. By 1982, Nima was living in Toronto, Canada."


22 posted on 01/09/2005 2:04:32 PM PST by FairOpinion
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To: PatrickHenry

Non-elitist bookmark bump.


23 posted on 01/09/2005 2:12:15 PM PST by KayEyeDoubleDee (const tag& constTagPassedByReference)
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To: Ken H
Is it possible, in theory at least, to use gravity to transmit and receive information as is done with electricity and light?

It's not strong enough to provide a good signal. The EM spectrum is far superior.

24 posted on 01/09/2005 2:13:07 PM PST by PatrickHenry (The List-O-Links for evolution threads is at my freeper homepage.)
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To: snarks_when_bored
"our universe is not accidental"

What does he mean, I wonder. Does he mean that the universe was created by some intelligence? Or that it was fated to exit?
25 posted on 01/09/2005 2:31:05 PM PST by garjog
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To: PatrickHenry

Thanks for the ping!


26 posted on 01/09/2005 2:35:31 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: garjog
Does he mean that the universe was created by some intelligence? Or that it was fated to exit?

The latter.
27 posted on 01/09/2005 2:36:32 PM PST by AdmSmith
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To: snarks_when_bored

Why does this guy think that a uniform distribution of matter and energy isn't the result of a random process? In many cases, this is exactly what would be predicted.


28 posted on 01/09/2005 2:48:04 PM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: garjog

His comment about the universe being "accidental" just shows
how little our language and common understanding incorporates
all of the knowledge we do have.

One major question would be such:

Is there any such thing as an "accident?" If the universe
(no matter how many dimensions or what it is composed of)
is set on ONE solitary physical course, then the concept of
an accident(meaning something happened that wouldn't
"normally" happen) COULDN'T occur at all. EVERYTHING
would be an outworking of the physical plant we find ourselves
in...(e.g. every event which occurs is based on some
physical process which was initially set in motion when the
universe (or multiverse, if you will) began.

This of course raises questions about our belief, that
we can understand "NATURE" at it's core, since our very
thoughts could be considered as outworkings of the
physical processes initially set in motion when the universe
(or multiverse, if you will) began.

"I think, therefore I AM....er....do I really think?", would be
the edited version of that famous philosophical statement.......


29 posted on 01/09/2005 3:12:40 PM PST by Getready ((...Fear not ...))
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To: snarks_when_bored

You're right about height, width, depth and time being the standard four dimensions of spacetime. But gravity is not a dimension; it's one of the four fundamental forces, the other three being electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force.

////////////////
however, observation has shown that the structure of space time is bent into "gravity wells" around massively large objects. Here are two sentences. 1.)Space tells matter how to move. 2.)Matter tells space how to bend. Sentence one describes "height, width, depth and time being the standard four dimensions of spacetime." Sentence one describes how we understand reality. However, all four dimensions seem to be subject to something else described in sentence two. The bend or gravity. But why is this bending of space described as a force rather than the character of space itself. It doesn't seem as if space is empty. Rather it seems that if space can bend than it is more like a material.

Either that or our notion of dimensions is a function of newtonian mathmatics. We're biased or our point of view is in favor of space time rather than matter time--if there is such a beast. I'm no mathmatician but I've heard recently some speculation at free republic that this bias had something to do with Newton's work and that it could be rectified or rebalanced by Newton's contemporary, Liebnitz, who did some work with infintessimals, a number system that is built around a one dimensional zero--or something like that. At this point I'm out of my depth.


30 posted on 01/09/2005 4:05:52 PM PST by ckilmer
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To: snarks_when_bored
it is all a faith thing.

atheist scientists don't believe in God since there is no "proof" yet fall all over themselves expousing the existence of cosmic strings and 23 different dimensions, for which there is

no experimental proof whatsoever

ah, hypocrisy. faith is OK, but only if politically correct

31 posted on 01/09/2005 4:14:44 PM PST by chilepepper (The map is not the territory -- Alfred Korzybski)
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To: snarks_when_bored
Dr. Michio Kaku's latest book, Parallel Worlds, reveals what today's trailblazing cosmologists know about the nature of the universe, including its age (13.7 billion years), its composition (73 percent 'dark energy'), and perhaps even its eventual death. Dr. Kaku also offers a glimpse into the future trillions of years from now, when the survival of intelligent life might well depend upon its ability to migrate to another, more hospitable universe or to travel back to a warmer, safer time.
Dr Kaku is on tour promoting his new book. For those who think we have a clue to the fundamental nature of the universe, this one should kick us right in the fundament.
32 posted on 01/09/2005 4:24:42 PM PST by RightWhale (Please correct if cosmic balance requires.)
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To: Doctor Stochastic

Random means uniform does it not? So I was taught in chemistry class.


33 posted on 01/09/2005 4:26:51 PM PST by RightWhale (Please correct if cosmic balance requires.)
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To: RightWhale
I Blog BooksDr. Michio Kaku's latest book, Parallel Worlds...

I have heard Dr. Kaku speak of his theories, and he may be thinking so far into the ozone that his concepts cannot be communicated with any sense to the layperson.

The alternative is that he really believes in the invasion of Earth by aliens from farther up the evolutionary and entropic curve.
34 posted on 01/09/2005 5:33:13 PM PST by dr_pat (it's only sarcasm if you don't read too carefully...)
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To: snarks_when_bored

Bump for later


35 posted on 01/09/2005 6:02:53 PM PST by America's Resolve (awarforeurabia.blogspot.com - Watching the war for Europe)
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To: dr_pat

I'll never understand how it is that theoretical scientists fail to see the handwriting of God in the essence of their work. Just because something is of divine nature doesn't necessarily mean it defies measurement, it merely defies our current technology to make those measurements. And once measured, that doesn't mean that it has nothing to do with God's work.

God only gave Moses the rules for human behavior, not for the behavior of the universe. To assume that those 10 commandments are the only laws in existence which God created (or enforces) is arrogance in the extreme.

During my undergraduate degree studies in Physics, it became quite clear to me - nearly an atheist at the time - that the only plausible explanation to the universe rested with what we define as God. As I have aged over the last 25 years since, this belief has only become stronger.

Eventually, when humankind learns to overcome mortality, the human invented aspect of linear time will fall by the wayside, opening the doors which are closed today. Quantum theory begins to erase linear time, but time still keeps us "on the plantation" so to speak - locking us into Newtonian mechanics as the basis of our physical understanding.


36 posted on 01/09/2005 6:25:11 PM PST by datura (Destroy The UN, the MSM, and China. The rest will fall into line once we get rid of these.)
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To: snarks_when_bored; doug from upland; Petronski
Chuck Missler http://khouse.org/ has fascinating radio broadcasts on this topic and others.

And I have a "string" theory of my own, the current formula is:

STRING UP (CLINTON=TREASON: VAR1=BILL; VAR2=HILLARY)

GRAVITY acting on falling object (16'/second) ^2

= (CRIME) DELTA = CRIME1^-1

I just wish there were a REAL "Laboratory" to test my theory!
37 posted on 01/09/2005 6:35:51 PM PST by The Spirit Of Allegiance (REMEMBER THE ALGOREAMO--relentlessly DEMAND the TRUTH, like the Dems demand recounts!)
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To: RightWhale
when the survival of intelligent life might well depend upon its ability to migrate to another,

This could be the answer to Fermi's paradox - in our local miniverse - advanced civilizations have come up with the physics to do this sooner rather than later. We're next.

38 posted on 01/09/2005 6:39:31 PM PST by Fitzcarraldo
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To: snarks_when_bored

Has there been any experimental verification of string theory? What if this is a colossal dead end--what's Plan B?


39 posted on 01/09/2005 7:15:14 PM PST by maro
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To: maro
What if this is a colossal dead end--what's Plan B?

I imagine that we'll burn that bridge when we come to it.

40 posted on 01/09/2005 7:30:25 PM PST by Tree of Liberty (requiescat in pace, President Reagan)
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To: RightWhale
Random means uniform does it not?

That would depend on both the model and initial conditions. Most of the time it does. (And all randomly generatied objects can be reduced to a uniform sample by use of the inverse cumulative distribution function; like looking at percentiles.) That's why I was surprised by the guy's comment; it needed more explanation though perhaps it was filtered throught the Journalist Transformation.

41 posted on 01/09/2005 8:33:49 PM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: snarks_when_bored
If gravity is strong - just appears weak because it "falls though the floor" - wouldn't the dimension it's "falling" into have to be large? Or have "in common" type qualities with black holes? Hard to put a lot of something into nothing ...

it has been conjectured that they're quite tiny (curled up into up into any of a myriad of possible shapes). The present article discusses the possibility of getting experimental confirmation of these extra dimensions.

42 posted on 01/09/2005 8:43:01 PM PST by GOPJ
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To: snarks_when_bored

Why is "dimensions" so much more popular "properties of space"???


43 posted on 01/09/2005 8:56:28 PM PST by mikegi
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To: snarks_when_bored

Stretch a sheet of waxed paper on an embroidery frame and place its four corners on gimbals and sprinkle a bit of water on it the surface; now play with it...


44 posted on 01/09/2005 8:56:29 PM PST by Old Professer (When the fear of dying no longer obtains no act is unimaginable.)
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To: garjog
"our universe is not accidental"

What does he mean, I wonder. Does he mean that the universe was created by some intelligence? Or that it was fated to exi[s]t?

I don't think Steinhardt is a theist, so his use of the words 'not accidental' is a bit odd. But consider his second paragraph:

Historically, most physicists have shared this point-of-view. For centuries, most of us have believed that the universe is governed by a simple set of physical laws that are the same everywhere and that these laws derive from a simple unified theory.

What he's worked up about is the Anthropic Principle and its apparent consequence that our universe is just one among a truly vast number of universes, all the others of which are unobservable. Steinhardt says, with good reason, that this is not science.

45 posted on 01/09/2005 10:37:02 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored
But gravity is not a dimension; it's one of the four fundamental forces, the other three being electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force.

Forgive me if I sound incredibly stupid..

Isn't Gravity simply a function of Mass? ( function, for lack of a better word. )

46 posted on 01/09/2005 10:42:35 PM PST by Drammach (Freedom; not just a job, it's an adventure..)
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To: ckilmer
Rather it seems that if space can bend than it is more like a material.

The basic equation in Einstein's General Relativity places (essentially) the geometric structure of spacetime on one side and stress-energy on the other, that is, there is an equivalence between the mathematical (geometry) and the physical (stress-energy). So, yes, spacetime (not just space) is more like a material, at least in General Relativity.

John Baez has a nice tutorial on General Relativity, but it's not for the faint of heart:

John Baez' General Relativity Tutorial page

47 posted on 01/09/2005 10:54:28 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: Drammach

General Relativity is our current best theory of gravity, so I'll refer you to my post #47 on this thread.


48 posted on 01/09/2005 10:58:21 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: maro
Has there been any experimental verification of string theory? What if this is a colossal dead end--what's Plan B?

No experimental verification of string theory yet (although certain properties of black holes have been deduced using string theory techniques). Perhaps string theory is a dead end, perhaps not. Either way, physics goes on. After all, what else is there to do?

49 posted on 01/09/2005 11:14:12 PM PST by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored
Thanks for the Baez link.. bookmarked for further study..

I find it interesting that my original intent was to include "density" in my description..
( .. function of the density of mass.. )

While the short outline definition of Stress-Energy Tensor mentions "density" of energy and momentum...

Also "Newton's gravitational constant"..
More reading/study.. although I think that will be a dead end for what I'm trying to understand..

Thanks..

50 posted on 01/09/2005 11:22:37 PM PST by Drammach (Freedom; not just a job, it's an adventure..)
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