Some scientists believe that, as the universe gets older and larger, it adds more dimensions. Cute theory. But how does this help solve pressing questions of of physics? And how can it be tested?
One of the crazier theories of physics is the idea of Vanishing Dimensions. It should, technically, be the idea of Appearing Dimensions, since it proposes that, as the universe aged and grew, it added more and more dimensions. What's more, the amount of dimensions we see depend on the amount of space we're studying. Large spaces have three or more dimensions, while smaller ones have two, or even one.
Although the idea appears preposterous, it would explain a few things. For one thing, it might explain why the universe seems to be expanding at a higher and higher rate. Physics are baffled by the acceleration of this expansion, but if the universe is adding dimensions as it gets bigger and older, that may explain the change in expansion. It may it also explain why the mathematics of quantum mechanics and of relativity don't seem to work together. If relativity is generally applied to large spaces and large objects, while quantum mechanics applies to small spaces and small objects - they could be describing universes with different numbers of dimensions.
The theory also points the the idea that the early universe was a point, that expanded into a one-dimensional line, that then expanded into a two-dimensional plane, and at last popped out the third dimension that we happily move through today.
Although the theory could fill in some blanks for physics if it proves true - it is hard to prove true. A 'dimensionometer' has not yet been developed. How would anyone figure out if small pieces of the universe lack dimensions? Apparently, gravity can only work in three dimensions. There are plans (although they are only intermittently funded) to build gigantic telescopes that observe the gravity of the universe. Since gravity, like light, takes time to move through the universe, the farther out astronomers look, the farther back in time they see. Look far enough back, back to when the universe was one dimensional, and gravity should disappear.
And the universe will officially become even weirder.
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