Imagine a straight line that expands into a plane and then finally into the world that we know today. The idea that the early universe was very small at first and expanded into its later stages is what Stojkovic and his colleagues came up with.
If their theory is valid then it would address important problems in particle physics. Stojkvic and Loyola Marymount University physicist Jonas Mureika have come up with a test that could prove or disprove their theory.
When we use telescopes to look into outer space, we can look at the outer parts of the universe because it takes time for light and other waves to travel to Earth. Apparently they can effectively look back into time when they reach the outer parts. I also learned that gravitational waves can't exist in one or two dimensional space.
It is because of that last statement that Stojkovic and Mureika believe that an observatory should not detect gravitational waves from the lower-dimensional epochs of the early universe. They will do so by observing the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA).
Smaller spaces are associated with fewer dimensions and since the universe is ever expanding a fourth dimension may open up. They would be solving many problems with the standard model of practice of particle physics if they are right.
"What we're proposing here is a shift in paradigm," Stojkovic said. "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."
However, there is still one problem remaining with their research. LISA is not set to be deployed for years so it's going to be a while before they can test their theory using LISA. So we have some time before we ever find out if the universe only had one spatial dimension.
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Photo credit: NASA/STScI/WikiSky #