String theorists investigate the possibility that the universe has more than three dimensions of space and one of time. Positing more dimensions (usually curled up in tiny spaces) yields equations that, in some sets, describe facets of the universe very well. Problem is, as I foggily understand it, is that the possibilities are so astronomical (excuse the pun) that no one sure if this isn’t a one-size-fits-all theory, explaining nothing, just infinitely customizable to fit the data.
A precursor of string theory, in a way, was an observation made to Einstein: That if relativity’s equations were in five dimensions, they would be in sync with those of quantum mechanics, and voila, there’s your unified field theory.
What if the fifth dimension isn’t one of space? Maybe that observation could be gotten to work without relying on places that could be hiding ghosts, Heaven, Hell and most of gravity. So what could it be? Since quantum mechanics seems to embedded with probabilities, how about probability as a dimension? Or, to state it from an object’s point of view, not an observer’s, call it volatility: The ability of an object to shift to hop, skip and dance to various spots.
At the quantum level, the level of particles, this is a real phenomenon, which leaves folks scratching their heads, declaring that QM is like Zen: He who says he understands it, doesn’t. Since QM and Zen are both are both about the mysteries of the universe, wow, that sounds cool, like there’s magic going, or, as Einstein put it, God is rolling dice.
Being a visual guy, someone who believes the cosmos is conceivable, I’m inclined to think what’s going on has less to do with dice, than physicists underestimating the power of virtual particles, particles that zap in and out of Nothingness in pairs, then disappear. Suppose these virtual particles easily interact. Here’s Electron A, going on its merry way, when virtual Electron B flits into existence with its antiparticle, Positron B. Pos B smacks El A, wiping it out. Slam bang, so fast, observer would think there’s still an electron going on its merry way, except for some dang reason it’s not exactly where it was before.
This could keep happening over and over, with the universe destroying and renewing itself constantly.
Maybe such regeneration also explains how a single electron can create interference patterns when traveling through one of two slits. It’s always being interfered with! At the quantum level, everything is being interfered with.
I also think it’s possible this phenomenon could explain gravity: Gravity is a push! Large masses (like the Earth) catch streaming virtual particles, but empty space doesn’t. So more virtual particles are flitting in and out of existence in the cosmic background from outside the Earth. As a result, as because these particles have momentum, as they interact and replace the particles that make up, we get pushed down toward the Earth.
If gravity is a push, that could explain dark energy! That’s the mysterious force pushing the Universe apart. How I’m not sure, since if the net result is like gravity as we know, masses should move toward each other.
Anyway, back to volatility. It is a dimension in a way. Including it in equations would extend the volume of space where a particle or object could be. With larger solid objects, this dimension, hey, what do you know? would seem to be curled up in a tiny space, since the regeneration process has little macro-scale effect. But at the quantum level, the effect is apparently significant.
By the way, consider how an “observer” somehow influences the Virtual Replacement Process? The Uncertainty Principle says it’s impossible to measure both an electron’s speed and location. Could it partly be because sending a photon into the electron’s zone alters the virtual patterns, or that the photo itself undergoes replacement?
A former coworker, Will Willamson, had a saying: You too can be replaced! Well, maybe you are!