Scientists seek the fifth dimension

March 12th, 2008 - 2:53 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, March 12 (IANS) The universe comprises three dimensions of space and one of time, but researchers are exploring the possibility of the fifth. Sound like an episode from the “Twilight Zone”? Almost, but not quite, according to John Simonetti and Michael Kavic of the College of Science at Virginia Tech, reports Sciencedaily.

“The idea we’re exploring is that the universe has an imperceptibly small dimension (about one billionth of a nanometer) in addition to the four that we know currently,” Kavic said.

“This extra dimension would be curled up, in a state similar to that of the entire universe at the time of the Big Bang. If we had evidence there is an extra dimension, it would really revolutionise how we think about space and time,” Kavic said.

The group is looking for small primordial black holes that, when they explode, may produce a radio pulse that could be detected here on Earth. These black holes are called primordial because they were created a fraction of a second after the beginning of the universe.

Black holes are expected to evaporate over time, losing mass and therefore shrinking. A black hole larger than the extra dimension would wrap around it like a thick rubber band wrapped around a hose.

As a black hole shrinks down to the size of the extra dimension, it would be stretched so thin it would snap, causing an explosion.

The explosion could produce a radio pulse. Virginia Tech group that administers the College of Science is setting up an eight-metre-wavelength Transient Array radio telescope in Montgomery County to search the sky for these radio pulses from explosions up to 300 light years away.

“Basically we’re looking for any exotic, high-energy explosion that would produce radio waves,” Simonetti said. He said the establishment of the second radio telescope would help the two telescopes validate one another.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |