You may have wondered why the universe has only three spatial dimensions. The truth is that the natural tendency for strings, wires, or wires to end up entangled can help explain the three-dimensional nature of the universe and how it formed.
An international team of physicists has developed a theory that explains it: little of the appearance of the universe, 13.8 billion years ago, and the universe was filled with knots formed by flexible threads of energy called flux tubes that join the elementary particles.
“Although the question of why our universe has exactly three spatial dimensions (large) is one of the deepest enigmas of cosmology… in fact, it is only occasionally addressed in the scientific literature,” the authors explain.
The fact that static volumes of space have three degrees of freedom, width, depth, and length, seems so fundamental, that it is difficult to imagine a Universe otherwise. True? Imagine a hypercube in 4D as a real object and quickly feel that… our mind becomes a mess.
We cannot rule out the possibility of other dimensions of space. In fact, models such as string theory fit nine or more dimensions; but until we find solid evidence of their existence, they are 3D that we must worry about.
Physicists, from the universities of Edinburgh (United Kingdom), Dortmund (Germany), Aveiro (Portugal), Chapman and Vanderbilt (USA), borrowed a common element from the standard model of particle physics and mixed it with a small theory of the basic knot (a branch of topology) to produce a novel scenario that can not only explain why three-dimensional structures predominate, but also offers a natural source of energy for inflationary growth that most cosmologists believe which took place microseconds after the famous Big Bang .
Key element: the flow tube
This element is the flow tube, which has its roots in the electromagnetism modeling of James Clerk Maxwell in the nineteenth century. The flow tube is composed of quarks, elemental particles that form protons and neutrons, which are joined together by other adhesive particles called gluons. Hence the flow tubes can also be used on a quantum scale to explain why specific types of particles called quarks join together to give us thick subatomic particles like protons and neutrons. As the bound particles separate, the flow tube extends until it reaches a point where it ruptures. The energy in that field results in the production of another quark and an antiquark.
“We take the familiar phenomenon of the flow tube and raise it to a higher energy level,” explains Thomas Kephart of Vanderbilt University.
If we review current theories, at the time of creation of the universe, it was first filled with superheated and electrically charged liquid called quark-gluon plasma. The scientists noted that an energy version of the quark-gluon plasma would have been an ideal setting for the formation of flux tubes in the early universe: all that immeasurable number of pairs of quarks and antiquarks that were created and eliminated spontaneously would generate large quantities of flow tubes.
Although the flow tube connecting a quark and an antiquark disappears at this time of contact and annihilation, there are exceptions. If a tube takes the form of a knot, for example, it becomes stable and can survive the particles that created it, they would end up forming stable flow tubes when two or more flow tubes are intertwined.
This would explain, according to the authors, that the entire universe would have been filled with a narrow network of flow tubes. After calculating how much energy this network could contain, they discovered that it was powerful enough to feed an early period of cosmic inflation.
“Our network of flow tubes not only provides the energy needed to control inflation, but also explains why it stopped so abruptly. As the Universe began to expand, the network of flow tubes began to disintegrate and eventually broke, eliminating the power source that was fueling the expansion, “says Kephart.