Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Particle Accelerator May Reveal Shape Of Alternate Dimensions

Date:
February 4, 2008
Source:
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary:
When the world's most powerful particle accelerator starts up later this year, exotic new particles may offer a glimpse of the existence and shapes of extra dimensions. String theory, which describes the fundamental particles of the universe as tiny vibrating strings of energy, suggests the existence of six or seven unseen spatial dimensions in addition to the time and three space dimensions that we normally see.

A new particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, is scheduled to begin operating later this year near Geneva, Switzerland.
Credit: CERN

When the world's most powerful particle accelerator starts up later this year, exotic new particles may offer a glimpse of the existence and shapes of extra dimensions.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California-Berkeley say that the telltale signatures left by a new class of particles could distinguish between possible shapes of the extra spatial dimensions predicted by string theory.

String theory, which describes the fundamental particles of the universe as tiny vibrating strings of energy, suggests the existence of six or seven unseen spatial dimensions in addition to the time and three space dimensions that we normally see.

Much as the shape of a musical instrument determines its sound, the shape of these dimensions determines the properties and behavior of our four-dimensional universe, says Gary Shiu, lead author of a paper appearing in the Jan. 25 issue of Physical Review Letters.

"The shape of the dimensions is crucial because, in string theory, the way the string vibrates determines the pattern of particle masses and the forces that we feel," says the UW-Madison physics professor.

Zeroing in on that shape should further our understanding and predictions of our four-dimensional world, Shiu says. "There are myriad possibilities for the shapes of the extra dimensions out there. It would be useful to know a way to distinguish one from another and perhaps use experimental data to narrow down the set of possibilities."

Such experimental evidence could appear in data from a new particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, scheduled to begin operating later this year near Geneva, Switzerland.

In an accelerator, smashing atomic nuclei head-on at nearly the speed of light can briefly create new high-energy and highly unstable particles, which quickly decay into a shower of detectable lower energy ones. Characteristic patterns of decay serve as fingerprints of the fleeting exotic particles and, possibly, the shape of the unseen dimensions.

With colleagues Bret Underwood and Kathryn Zurek at UW-Madison and Devin Walker at UC-Berkeley, Shiu shows in the new study that the signature patterns from particles called Kaluza-Klein (KK) gravitons can distinguish between different proposed extra-dimensional geometries.

How" Shiu compares the effect to a darkened room in which patterns of sound resonating off the walls can reveal the shape of the room. Similarly, KK gravitons are sensitive to the extra-dimensional shape and, through their behavior and decay, may reveal clues to that shape.

The current study shows that, in simulations, even small geometric variations lead to visible differences in KK graviton signatures, Underwood says.

Based on these results, Shiu says, "At least in principle, one may be able to use experimental data to test and constrain the geometry of our universe."

Last year, Shiu and Underwood reported that clues to dimensional geometries might also be visible in patterns of cosmic radiation left over from the Big Bang. The new work complements the previous approach, they say.

"The more hints we get, the better idea we have about the underlying physics," says Shiu.

Adds Underwood, "If the cosmology and particle physics data agree, it's an indication we're on the right track."

The work was supported by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Research Corporation, and a University of California Presidential Fellowship.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Wisconsin-Madison. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Particle Accelerator May Reveal Shape Of Alternate Dimensions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080131161812.htm>.
University of Wisconsin-Madison. (2008, February 4). Particle Accelerator May Reveal Shape Of Alternate Dimensions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080131161812.htm
University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Particle Accelerator May Reveal Shape Of Alternate Dimensions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080131161812.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Former TSA X-Ray Scanners Easily Tricked To Miss Weapons

Former TSA X-Ray Scanners Easily Tricked To Miss Weapons

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) Researchers found the scanners could be duped simply by placing a weapon off to the side of the body or encasing it under a plastic shield. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins