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I Knots in the early universe

  1. Oct 20, 2017 #1


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    Is knot theory taken seriously by the sconce community , This seems to be a novel theory which explains why our world is three dimensional.


    An international team of physicists has developed an out-of-the-box theory which proposes that shortly after it popped into existence 13.8 billion years ago the universe was filled with knots formed from flexible strands of energy called flux tubes that link elementary particles together. The idea provides a neat explanation for why we inhabit a three-dimensional world and is described in a paper titled "Knotty inflation and the dimensionality of space time" accepted for publication in the European Physical Journal C.
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  3. Oct 20, 2017 #2

    jim mcnamara

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    Here is the journal link:

    Arjun Berera, Roman V. Buniy, Thomas W. Kephart, Heinrich Päs, João G. Rosa. Knotty inflation and the dimensionality of spacetime. The European Physical Journal C, 2017; 77 (10) DOI: 10.1140/epjc/s10052-017-5253-3
  4. Oct 20, 2017 #3


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    Knot theory was first proposed as a theory of atoms by Lord Kelvin with each type of knot being matched to an element. It was a more modern take on the platonic solids and how they predicted the orbits of the planets until they didn't.

    In any event, mathematicians continued to develop the theory on a purely mathematical sense creating a taxonomy of knots and some theorems on knot equivalence and some computable knot invariants to decide if two knots were equivalent.

    The knot element theory was abandoned when Thompson's experiment established the atomic structure definitively and folks moved onto electrons, protons and neutrons as the basis for an atom.


    The interesting thing about knots is that they can't be unravelled in 3-space but can in a higher dimensional space and so that seems to be where this paper is headed. I don't think its mainstream though more of a concept to explore further. In some ways it reminds me of Wheeler's geons and the attempt to describe elementary particles as some sort of ring of light which too faded away when it was determined that light probably couldn't gravitationally sustain itself in a loop.

  5. Oct 20, 2017 #4


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    Thanks for the link Jim, I will read it ASAP.
  6. Oct 21, 2017 #5
    Actually, the paper is not about knot theory and argues against there being more than 3 spacial dimensions.

    We suggest a structure for the vacuum comprised of a network of tightly knotted/linked flux tubes formed in a QCD-like cosmological phase transition and show that such a network can drive cosmological inflation. As the network can be topologically stable only in three space dimensions, this scenario provides a dynamical explanation for the existence of exactly three large spatial dimensions in our Universe.

    The basic idea is that in the quark-gluon plasma of the very early universe, the flux tubes connecting quark-antiquark pairs in mesons could become knotted or tangled. These knotted flux tubes could have survived after the quarks that they connected were annihilate and would have been responsible for driving inflation. The fact that they didn't untangle means no more than 3 dimensions.
  7. Oct 22, 2017 #6


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    To be precise, it argues against there being more than three large spatial dimensions. Small extra spatial dimensions, such as the ones most commonly proposed in string theory, don't disrupt the model.
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