Just as I’d begun to wrap my tail around an 11-dimensional universe, along comes a physicist-turned-econ-quant with three more dimensions. (More)
The resident faculty texted me last night to say they were fed up with political nuttitude and would I take this today’s Morning Feature. As if I don’t get enough political nuttidude researching my thesis. I agreed and they headed off for a long weekend in the
wine cellar library to drink think on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”).
But it’s Non-Cynical Saturday and there aren’t enough macadamias in the universe to make me anything but cynical about this week’s political news. Well, at least there aren’t enough macadamias in the observable universe. According to Eric Weinstein, a physicist-turned-economic-analyst, there may be more macadamias hiding in three new dimensions of spacetime. I think they’re like the hidden levels in Spheres of Squirrelcraft that you can’t unlock without the both Walnuts of Wisdom and the Mongongo of Mathematics. Yes, that is a nut. Here’s what it looks like, although the wild version comes without the penny:
Weinstein hasn’t published his paper yet, but he presented his ideas in a lecture at Oxford University last month. His math is complicated and not yet complete, but the gist seems to be that the universe is even weirder than quantum physicists and string theorists propose. Instead of the four dimensions of spacetime predicted by Einstein’s relativity equations, or the 11 dimensions proposed by Superstring Theory, Weinstein suggests there are 14 dimensions.
In Weinstein’s theory, called Geometric Unity, he proposes a 14-dimensional “observerse” that has our familiar four-dimensional space-time continuum embedded within it. The interaction between the two is something like the relationship between the people in the stands and those on the pitch at a football stadium – the spectators (limited to their four-dimensional space) can see and are affected by the action on the pitch (representing all 14 dimensions) but are somewhat removed from it and cannot detect every detail.
This makes perfect sense, as I’ve never understood Peter Crouch. Yes, he’s tall. Yes, he’s scored a lot of goals for England, although most have come against weak opponents. He’s scored only 12 goals combined in his past two Premier League seasons. But if he does the rest of his scoring in ten other dimensions that I can’t see, then I could understand why 12 Premier League clubs have hired him.
But that may not be what Weinstein means:
In the mathematics of the observerse there is no missing dark matter. Weinstein explains that the mass only seems to be missing because of the “handedness” of our current understanding of the universe, the Standard Model of particle physics. This is the most complete mathematical description physicists have of the universe at the quantum level and describes 12 particles of matter (called fermions) and 12 force-carrying particles (called bosons), in addition to their antimatter partners.
“The Standard Model relies on a fundamental asymmetry between left-handedness and right-handedness in order to keep the observed particles very light in the mass scale of the universe,” says Weinstein.
He says his theory does not have the asymmetry associated with the Standard Model. The reason we cannot easily detect the dark matter is that, in the observerse, when space is relatively flat, the left-handed and right-handed spaces would become disconnected and the two sides would not be aware of each other.
That is perfectly clear to anyone who’s ever tried to scratch their right ear with their left hind leg. As I’m sure you understand, you can’t do that unless you wrap your tail around at least three extra dimensions.
Anyway, Weinstein’s theory also explains dark energy, a mysterious something that cosmologists estimate comprises 68.3% of the universe, as a fifth fundamental force alongside gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. He also says the effects of dark energy vary with the shape of the universe, and it only seems constant here in our relatively flat part, which again makes perfect sense to anyone who’s ever experienced the force of a fifth.
And as physicist Marcus du Sautoy explains, Weinstein offers even more surprises:
One of the challenges facing fundamental physics has been to provide a natural explanation for these three generations [of fundamental particles]. Weinstein’s theory does this by revealing the presence of a new geometric structure involving a much larger symmetry at work, inside which the symmetry of the Standard Model sits. What is so compelling about the geometry involving this larger symmetry group is that it explains why you get two copies of something with 16 particles but also that the third generation is something of an imposter. At high energies it will actually behave differently to the other two.
Not only that, it also predicts a slew of new particles that we can start looking for in our colliders. The particles in the Standard Model have a property called spin. The particles we see in the three generations we’ve seen to date all have spin 1/2. But Weinstein’s symmetry is predicting that we will see new particles with spin 3/2 exhibiting familiar responses to the nongravitational forces together with a slew of new exotic particles with familiar spin but unfamiliar responses to the forces of the standard model.
My head spun at least 3/2 while reading that, so I totally get where he’s going. But Weinstein hasn’t completely sorted out the math yet, and no one has tested his predictions, so it will be years or decades before we know whether he’s found the Grand Unified Theory that has eluded physics for almost a century.
Most importantly, of course, if Weinstein’s theory works out then online pundits have been wrong for the past four years. I’d cheer for that alone.
Good day and good nuts.