God's Tinkertoys

by Earle West

Editor's Note: In past issues of this journal, we have demonstrated that the Bible concept of God as a being beyond the three spacial dimensions that we exist in makes good sense. This article by Earle West adds to the concept of there being dimensions beyond our own.

Science's understanding of the makeup of our universe is always being updated. Last summer, a paper by Harvard theorist, Dr. Juan Maldacena, finally described a mathematical model that appears to bring gravity, and other forces together in a single consistent description. This new mathematical model for the first time addresses previously unresolved contradictions in particle physics.

As reported in the New York Times, September 22, 1998, the problem that a number of physicists have been working on are the inconsistencies in the standard particle physics model for what the universe is actually made up of. And not only what it is made up of, but exactly what rules govern the forces between the most basic components. At the Aspen Center for Physics, in Colorado this last summer, top physicists were reported as celebrating a new model describing "God's Tinkertoys," the basic "objects that make up all creation."

Simple Models. Most of the universe we deal with on a day-to-day basis fits a relatively simple mathematical model. Ignoring the effects of wind resistance, Isaac Newton described the effect of gravity on falling objects y=VoT-1/2gT2. Since then, more sophisticated models have worked out to account for more subtle interactions. Other interesting interactions might include wind resistance, the rotation of the earth, electromagnetic fields from nearby power lines, the position of the moon, and/or how near to the speed of light the particle is traveling. NASA's web site can now help you account for the daily change in the rotational speed of the earth, if you need that information.

The standard model of the universe is that all matter (atoms, stars, rocks, plants, animals, etc.) are all made up of smaller, fairly well-understood particles classified as either fermions or bosons. Fermions are fundamental particles that make up protons, neutrons, and electrons. Bosons are mathematical constructs (including photons, and gravitons) that have some, but not all properties of `real' particles. The four fundamental forces that interact with these particles are simply called:

  1. The strong force
  2. The weak force
  3. Electromagnetic force
  4. Gravity

The strong force is responsible for holding protons, and neutrons together within atoms. The weak force causes certain forms of radioactive decay. The electromagnetic force holds molecules together, and gravity binds stars, galaxies, and other large structures together. Problems With The Standard Model. Clearly, if certain effects are known to be small, compared to what you are trying to predict, or understand, simple mathematical models will do. The converse is also true. If you want to predict, and understand all of the particles and their effects, the mathematical model of the physics for even the most basic components of the universe become complex. But they should not be contradictory, and they are in some ways. For example, three of the fundamental forces described above may be accurately modeled as fields of quantum particles. Not gravity. Why is gravity different? If you assume there are quantum particles for gravity (called gravitons), they can be shown to not obey laws for the other types of quantum particles. And no one seemed to know exactly why. That is the problem physicists think they have recently resolved. Dimensions Beyond Our View. By adding 22 new dimensions to the traditional four-dimensional space/time universe, physicists now say they can legitimately describe a consistent set of relations for the universe, taking into account all known interactions. Adding dimensions to solve the problem dates to the mid-1970s. Mathematical theorists have separately discovered ten-dimensional models to address part of the problem. In the early 1990s, five different ten-dimensional models were combined into a single eleven-dimension model. Discoverers of the model admit they are baffled by exactly what this all means. Dr. Steven Giddings, a theorist at the University of California at Santa Barbara, said: "it's like climbing a mountain to reach the top, and discovering that it's just a foothill to a more distant range. We've made an enormous amount of progress in the past few years, but now realize the greater depth of our ignorance."

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