String theory meets particle physics

OK, we’ve eased into the week long enough.

When the world’s most powerful particle accelerator starts up later this year, exotic new particles may offer a glimpse of the existence and shapes of extra dimensions.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California-Berkeley say that the telltale signatures left by a new class of particles could distinguish between possible shapes of the extra spatial dimensions predicted by string theory.

Much as the shape of a musical instrument determines its sound, the shape of these dimensions determines the properties and behavior of our four-dimensional universe, says Wisconsin physicist Gary Shiu, lead author of a paper in the Jan. 25 issue of Physical Review Letters.

“There are myriad possibilities for the shapes of the extra dimensions out there,” he says. “It would be useful to know a way to distinguish one from another and perhaps use experimental data to narrow down the set of possibilities.”

Such experimental evidence could appear in data from a new particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, scheduled to begin operating later this year near Geneva, Switzerland.

How? Read the full story on UW-Madison’s news page.

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One response to “String theory meets particle physics

  1. sciencecrossroads

    Am I the only person who imagines a giant ball of twine at the thought of the “string theory?” — SC

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