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Things of the past put away

Posted on Wed Feb 15th, 2017 @ 11:45am by Lieutenant Alohiai illm Warraquim

Alohiai sat propped up in her bed with a single light. In her hands was a book, a very old one from her world and written in very old Akkadian. It made her head hurt to try to figure the symbols out but it offered clues as to what once had been and very seldom talked about. This was a sort of tutorial, on some of the ideas that had gone into her culture's achievements, written by some long dead A'ksu. She was not supposed, of course, to have the book but she had taken it from the great hidden library none the less especially when it had fallen open to a page and on that page was two words which she picked up immediately. The two words were Fold Ship.

She began to read.

The equations that describe matter, gravity and the other forces of nature, well they just do not quite fit.

We have laws are very good at gravity with that fit into a theory of general relatively. Equations now describing quantum theory have managed to describe accurately many nuances of matter and other forces of nature.

So what is the problem?

Simply, those theories and quantum theories do not quite fit together, there is something missing, some piece of the puzzle that is missing that will help fill in what is physical reality.

Here we have discovered a new theory has emerged that fits the two theories together and though it seems bizarre is something that works on all the mathematical levels.

All one has to do is add an extra dimension of time, not an obvious one but hidden away where we can’t directly observe it. Oh, and add in an extra physical (special) dimension as well In fact, extra dimensions of space have become a popular way of making gravity and quantum theory more compatible.

Extra space dimensions aren’t easy to imagine — in everyday life, nobody ever notices more than three.

Any move you make can be described as the sum of movements in three directions — up and down, back and forth, or sideways. Similarly, any location can be described by three numbers (on Akkadia, latitude, longitude and altitude), corresponding to space’s three dimensions.

Other dimensions could exist, however, if they were curled up in little balls, too tiny to notice. If you moved through one of those dimensions, you’d get back to where you started so fast you’d never realize that you had moved.

Something as tiny as a subatomic particle, though, might detect the presence of extra dimensions. In fact, certain properties of matter’s basic particles, such as electric charge, may have something to do with how those particles interact with tiny invisible dimensions of space.

In this view, the Big Bang that started the baby universe growing 14 billion years ago blew up only three of space’s dimensions, leaving the rest tiny. Many theorists today believe that six or seven such unseen dimensions await discovery.

In the past only a few, though, believe that more than one dimension of time exists. This has now changed.

Something as simple as how particles move, for example, could be viewed in a new way. In classical physics (before the days of quantum theory), a moving particle was completely described by its momentum (its mass times its velocity) and its position. But quantum physics says you can never know those two properties precisely at the same time.

By altering the laws describing motion even more, postulating that position and momentum are not distinguishable at a given instant of time. Technically, they can be related by a mathematical symmetry, meaning that swapping position for momentum leaves the underlying physics unchanged (just as a mirror switching left and right doesn’t change the appearance of a symmetrical face).

In ordinary physics, position and momentum differ because the equation for momentum involves velocity. Since velocity is distance divided by time, it requires the notion of a time dimension. If swapping the equations for position and momentum really doesn’t change anything, then position needs a time dimension also.

“If position and momentum indistinguishable from one another, then something is changing about the notion of time, and thus requires an extra dimension of time to explain it.

Simply adding an extra dimension of time doesn’t solve everything, however. To produce equations that describe the world accurately, an additional dimension of space is needed as well, giving a total of four space dimensions. Then, the math with four space and two time dimensions reproduces the standard equations describing the basic particles and forces exactly and fits relativity gravity into quantum theory.

The math suggests that the familiar world of four dimensions — three of space, one of time — is merely a shadow of a richer six-dimensional reality. In this view the ordinary world is like a two-dimensional wall displaying shadows of the objects in a three-dimensional room.

In a similar way, the observable universe of ordinary space and time may reflect the physics of a bigger space with an extra dimension of time. In ordinary life nobody notices the second time dimension, just as nobody sees the third dimension of an object’s two-dimensional shadow on a wall.

However if one can access those extra dimensions then what one can accomplish is something extraordinary. This is the idea behind the Fold Ships. Think of traveling in this way. One puts a two dots on a two dimensional paper. To travel between the two one would have to cross in a line between the two, but if these two points are separated by vast distances then the travel between them becomes something of a problem. One solution is to wrinkle the paper, warp it such that it appears the two points have come closer. An elegant solution but there is another. If in this two dimensional world, one could access another dimension. Take our paper with our two dots and then fold it such that the two dots touch. One simply is here and then there, with seemly no time in between. Thus our ships access those extra dimensions and slip from our world to another in seemingly a heartbeat of time.

Alohiai closed the book and pinched her eyes. She imagined for a moment what it might be like. One could be at say Earth and then travel to Akkadia in as long at it would be to take a breath. What a marvel that would be and how it would make warp technology seem positively archaic in the process, like comparing an animal drawn cart to this star ship.

Alohiai shook her head and turned off the light. That was but one little book in a vast library, what other wonders had been discovered, lost or hidden away she wondered. Yes hidden away, for some still existed, she had seen one for herself though it had been quite by accident. Time enough for that for another day.


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