What It’s Like to Live in a Universe of Ten Dimensions
What songwriting has to do with string theory.
By Maria Popova
What would happen if you crossed the physics of time with the science of something and nothing? You might get closer to understanding the multiverse. In Imagining the Tenth Dimension: A New Way of Thinking About Time and Space, Rob Bryanton — a self-described “non-scientist with an inquisitive mind,” whose dayjob as a sound designer involves composing music for TV series and films — proposes a theory of the universe based on ten dimensions, a bold and progressive lens on string theory based on the idea that countless tiny “superstrings” are vibrating in a tenth dimension. In order for us, creatures of a three-and-a-half-dimensional world, to begin to wrap our heads around this concept, we have to radically reconsider our perception of infinity, the possible and the impossible, and consciousness itself — which is precisely what Bryanton sets out to do, in what he is careful to frame as a personal expression rather than a traditional scientific theory.
For a taste, here is a mind-bending explanation of ten dimensions might mean:
The project began as a set of 26 songs, exploring the intersection of science and philosophy. Over the years, Bryanton began to see connections between his own ideas and scientific theories across quantum physics, multiple dimensions, and superstrings, including the “Many Worlds Theory” first advanced by physicist Hugh Everett III in 1957. In time, he developed a model of the universe based on the harmonics of superstring vibrations.
Before launching into the additional dimensions, Bryanton also breaks down the familiar three:
A kind of scientific expressionism and creative exploration of curiosity, Imagining the Tenth Dimension might not rewrite the theories of Stephen Hawking, but it is certain to give you pause.
Published January 25, 2012