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Kaluza-Klein theory

  1. Dec 13, 2005 #1
    I'd never heard of Kaluza-Klein theory before today, and from what I've read I think that's rather odd. Taking it from a purely non-quantum, relativistic unification of gravity and electromagnetism, what's wrong with it? I know it has been subsumed into other, more sophisticated theories, but on its own merits, does it work?
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  3. Dec 13, 2005 #2


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  4. Dec 13, 2005 #3
    Thanks robphy. I'll be getting into the ins and outs of Maxwell's equations next year, and of GR... sometime before I have kids, so I'm not too optimistic about actual understanding K-K theory. I was more interested in why, if both EM and GR are derivable from it, it is not covered more in textbooks, or pop sci books come to that.

    Everywhere I see a problem with K-K theory it seems to concern either quantization, particle physics or nuclear forces. Those things aside, I'm wondering if there's any historical reason why what appears to be an extention of GR to cover EM in which Maxwell's equations emerge is any less prominent than GR itself. As the advert says, why take two bottles into the shower when you can take one?

    I guess this is more of a science history question.
  5. Dec 14, 2005 #4


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    I *think* the situation is that KK theory predicts an unobserved scalar field. But I'm not terribly sure I've got this right, so take this with a grain of salt.
  6. Dec 14, 2005 #5
    This is the radion field, right? Isn't this predicted in certain QFTs though? If the radion field was originally predicted by KK theory (which, so far as I can tell, it was), would not a success in these theories (the discovery of the radion particle) prove an equal success for KK theory?? Or are the two fields dissimilar in the two theories?

    I know Einstein disproved Weyl's similar unified field theory (in which Einstein's and Maxwell's equations were also derived in a 5D spacetime) and Weyl believed his own work to be superseded by Schrodinger's, but I cannot find any similar disproof of KK theory, or anything that would suggest it suffered from the same problems. The amount of literature outlining the theory, its history and its problems in the net is very slim.
  7. Dec 14, 2005 #6


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    I don't know. What I'm basing my statement on is remarks like
    from http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/9805018
    Unfortnately my understanding of Kaluza-Klein theory remains rather sketchy.
  8. Dec 14, 2005 #7
    Yes, this is the radion, I think. This seems to pop up in several other theories and seems to be something we're still hunting down.
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