Friday, August 21, 2009

Tenth Dimension on Boing Boing

A direct link to the above video is at

Check it out! Famous author, blogger and creative commons enthusiast Cory Doctorow has just posted my original animation at !

As usual, the comments are a mix, with some people angrily dismissing the whole thing as drivel, and a smaller contingent of people who appear to "get" where I'm going with my project. Here's the comment I posted at Boing Boing:

Hi, Rob Bryanton here, I made this much-discussed video, and as a long time fan of Boing Boing this is quite an honor. Thanks very much to Cory Doctorow and Bowloftoast for their interest, and thanks to those of you in the comments who understand the intent of this animation: as I say at the end, this is not the explanation for string theory, but it does have interesting connections to a lot of different schools of thought for a lot of people, and that's why it continues to be watched, and why it has been translated into so many other languages. Do I hope that this video has started people thinking about big picture ideas, and encouraged some to learn more about cosmology, the multiverse, and quantum mechanics? Of course I do! And every day I hear from people thanking me for waking them up to these possibilities.

When I came up with this way of visualizing spatial dimensions twenty-five years ago, I had not heard of the point-line-plane postulate, but it is very related. That postulate is accepted as a way of conceiving of any number of spatial dimensions, and that is what we are talking about here - spatial dimensions, each one at a new "right angle" to the one before. Trying to view a representation of a 4D hypercube without using "time" to rotate that object is a good way of thinking about how time, for us, is just one of the two possible directions in the fourth spatial dimension.

I published my book and this animation in 2006. In 2007, physicist David Deutsch supervised a team of scientists at Oxford to publish a proof equating the branching possibilities resulting from chance and choice with the probabilistic outcomes of the quantum world. New Scientist magazine went on to call this one of the most important science news stories of the year.

The Deutsch team's proof and my video both show a way of visualizing Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics. Everett proposed that the quantum wave function is not actually collapsed, but merely observed in different states. In that regard, this way of thinking shows how free will can exist and yet all possible outcomes could already exist within a timeless underlying fabric. Physicist Tim Palmer's "Invariant Set" is receiving a lot of attention this year because it also confirms the validity of this approach: has just published a very positive story about Palmer's work:

This year well-known physicist Brian Greene has come out to say that he now accepts the idea that the other different-initial-conditions universes are not merely theoretical, but just as real as our own. This "multverse" is another idea that is central to my approach to visualizing the dimensions which was much less in vogue back in 2006.

Another important point to note is that this way of visualizing the dimensions does show a way of visualizing how the fifth dimension and above are "curled up at the planck length" from our perspective - it's because our spacetime reality is not continuous, but rather divided up into quanta. For more about this:

There are a few questions that come up again and again with my project:
What would a flatlander really see?
Aren't There Really 11 Dimensions?
Why Stop at Ten Dimensions?

If you go to my website you will find many more connections.

And as has already been mentioned in the comments above, I have a youtube channel where I've posted 250 different videos that discuss the huge cloud of ideas that can be connected to this way of visualizing the dimensions:

Since my day job is composing music and designing sound for films and television shows, you will also see that my project has 26 songs attached to it. Here's one of those songs: "The Anthropic Viewpoint".

For those of you who are angered by a non-physicist trying to get people to think about cosmology and the really big picture, I can only say that the goal of my project is to stimulate people's brains into considering new possibilities. My next book is called "O is for Omniverse", and it boils all these ideas down into what looks like a children's alphabet book, full of brightly colored pictures and bouncy poems. My most popular blog entry of all time is called "Creativity and the Quantum Universe" and that's what this is all about for me: creativity.


Rob Bryanton

According to wikipedia, Cory was the first person to release a novel under the Creative Commons license. I'm sure he had would be happy to see that my books are also being freely distributed on bit torrent:

Isn't it amazing how more and more people around the world are coming to this project? As I said last month, by the time I'm being satirized on it seems that we're crossing some kind of threshold here. Cool!

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Next: Poll 42 - Does Twitter Connect or Distract?

1 comment:

Apocalypso Facto said...

I had no idea you were working on a new book! Bet it's gonna rock! :-D

Keep up the good job Rob.

Tenth Dimension Vlog playlist