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Researchers have outlined an experiment that could prove what is called the hypothesis of the vanishing dimensions.  According to the theory, the early universe was something like a straight 1-D line of pure energy. That line may have evolved into two dimensions–a plane–until it grew into the three and (some argue) four-dimensional space scientists try to understand today.

According to the concept of “vanishing dimensions”, the further astrophyscists look back, the less dimensions they find. In a paper recently published in Physical Review Letters, Dejan Stojkovic (University at Buffalo) and Jonas Mureika (Loyola Marymount University) describe how the planned Laser Interferometer Space Antenna LISA could help address fundamental questions in particle physics.

Stojkovic and Mureika reason that, once deployed, LISA would search for gravitational waves in epochs of the
early universe. Since such waves cannot exist in one or two – dimensional space, the device should not detect them in the outer reaches of the universe. This would be evidence for their theory of low dimensionality at extremely high energy levels. 

It will still take many years before the envisioned tests can be realized. The researchers hope that the collected data will also trigger explanations for the accelerated expansion of the universe, which is one of the many big mysteries about the cosmos.

With their proposed framework, which Stojkovic calls “new and radical”, he and Mureika hope to simplify things: Physicists have struggled with the same problems for 10, 20, 30 years, and straight-forward extensions of extensions of the
existing ideas are unlikely to solve them,“ Stojkovic said.

Reducing the number of dimensions means to unify: in 1-D, formerly different particles become alike. On a line,
you can only go back, or forth. In an unscientific way of saying it is as if the universe, in the nanoseconds after the Big Bang, stretched and concentrated before things got really complicated.


Image Light Experimentation1 by snoozeman.06 on Flickr, courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.

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