Saturday, November 28, 2009

Polls Archive 52 - Entanglement and the 5th Dimension

Poll 52 - "Quantum entanglement's instantaneous effects prove that our "now" exists one planck frame after another not within 4D spacetime, but in the 5th dimension where distant points can be directly connected together without violating the speed of light limit." Poll ended November 15 2009. 84.5% agreed while 15.5% did not.

There's a definite thread connecting this question to the last few poll questions that have been posed at this blog:
49 - Are We an Expanding Sphere on a 4D Hypersphere?
50 - Ancient Yeast and Extra Dimensions
51 - Do Animals Have Souls?
Even though these each looked at quite different ideas, they all keep coming back to the same central theme of the fifth dimension, and how the "now" that we're in from instant to instant is part of a fifth dimensional probability space that we are experiencing one planck frame at a time. With this poll question, we are again talking about the fifth dimension, but this time only as it relates to our quantum world.

I've talked a number of times about how quantum mechanics tends to be portrayed to the public as being unimaginably strange, formidably incomprehensible. Don't the parallel universes that arise from Everett's Many Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics seem to defy logic? How can we imagine that our fourth-dimensional spacetime could hold such mind-boggling variations resulting from chance and choice? And doesn't quantum entanglement violate Einstein's rules about "no faster than light travel in our universe"? The answer to all of the above, I would say, is simple: relativity and logic are not being violated if we imagine that our reality is in five dimensions, where the additional degree of freedom offered by that dimension allows all of those "spooky" connections to easily take place (for more about all this you might enjoy The Fifth Dimension is Spooky.

String Theory (or M Theory) is the theory of reality that is still, despite the protests of a noisy minority, the dominant paradigm today. In my new book O is for Omniverse, my goal was to boil the ideas from Imagining the Tenth Dimension down into a package that is easy as possible for everyone to consume: with that in mind, in O is for Omniverse I don't talk about any dimensions beyond the fifth.

After all, extra dimensions are not just about string theory, there are many other areas of cosmology and physics that also see promise there, particularly in the great mysteries surrounding dark matter and dark energy. A friend of mine on Facebook, Adam McKay, recently sent me a link to a five-day WORKSHOP ON GENERAL RELATIVITY that happened November 16th to 20th at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, on the campus of New York's Stony Brook University. Here's a list of the presenters and the titles of their presentations:

Robert Bartnik: Mass-Minimizing Metrics and Critical Points of the Energy Functional
Hubert Bray: On Dark Matter, Spiral Galaxies, and the Axioms of General Relativity
Mihalis Dafermos: The Black Hole Stability Problem
Michael Douglas: Effective Potentials for Kaluza-Klein Theories
Michael Eichmair: Some Results on Scalar Curvature Rigidity
Greg Galloway: Marginally Trapped Surfaces in 2+1 and Higher Dimensional Gravity
Gary Gibbons: Antimatter in the Looking Glass
Gary Horowitz: Uniqueness of Extremal Kerr and Kerr-Newman Black Holes
Gerhard Huisken: Monotonicity and Rigidity Estimates for the Evolution of Hypersurfaces
James Isenberg: Gluing at Asymptopia and the Relativistic N-body Problem
Sergiu Klainerman: Formation of Trapped Surfaces I
Hans Lindblad: The Weak Null Condition and the Asymptotic Behavior of Solutions to Einstein’s Equations
Igor Rodnianski: Formation of Trapped Surfaces II
Richard Schoen: On the High Dimensional Positive Mass Theorem
Yuguang Shi: Geometric Problems Related with Quasilocal Mass In General Relativity
Avy Soffer: Price Law for All Angular Momentum
Robert Wald: Derivation of Gravitational Self-Force
Mu-Tao Wang: Limit of Quasilocal Energy-Momentum at Infinity

Now, I'm not for a moment suggesting that I understand all of the above topics, but it's good to know that there are brilliant people like these out there that are thinking deeply about the underlying structures of our reality, and in a number of cases relating that to discussions of extra dimensions. There's more to our reality than what we see around us, and it's waiting there for our discovery!

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Next: Mandelbulbs

A direct link to the above video is at


Rick said...

I'm so glad I dropped by today. Loved the posting, but I was mystified as to the rational behind Quantum entanglement's instantaneous effects as a legitamite proof. In fact, I was a bit concerned about the presentation of the speed of light still being considered a limit as opposed to an outcome.

Rob Bryanton said...

Hi Rick, thanks for the great comments. I would say there are a great many ways that we as observers are confronted with evidence that our reality is connected together in ways that go beyond the restrictive limits of 4D spacetime, and the "spooky" (Einstein's word for this stuff) world of quantum mechanics is just one example of many.

In this way of visualizing the dimensions, we start from an enfolded, perfectly balanced symmetry state, then selection patterns begin to break that symmetry to eventually select one possible universe (ours, for instance) out of the background of all possible ways of organizing the information that becomes our reality. Ultimately, I suspect there are only two things that lock in our particular universe: the strength of gravity (how much things tend to clump together) and the speed of light (the frame rate of observation, the planck length, which defines our "atoms of spacetime" - as loop quantum gravity theorists call them - which sets the limit for how much things can clump together). In that sense, gravity and the speed of light are the two opposing forces that make our universe distinct from any other universe. Time, after all, is defined by the planck length, and it truly is, as Einstein said, nature's way of keeping everything from happening at the same time. Without that "frame rate", we can back out into timelessness where we see that ultimately everything is happening and does happen at the same time, but down here in 4D spacetime we see things more sequentially, and that causes us to view things like entanglement and synchronicity as being much more mysterious.

Thanks for writing,


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