Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Thinking on a tangent

  1. Nov 7, 2006 #1


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Why do people think about extra dimensions to aide our knowledge of the universe, when we do not even know what forces control the elements?
    i mean what controls the properties of the photon, the electron, they are well known in the literature, but what gives them there properties, why should a photon be a photon?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2006 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Geez Wolram, that's not a very sharp question. Why is ANYTHING what it is and not something else? It is perfectly true that quantum mechanics says nothing about the nature of reality, and has passed that characteristic on to its descendants quantum field theory and the standard model. But any attempt to get beyond the scrim of formalism has to use what tools it can. Saying we should not look at something that might be useful because we don't understand something else doesn't strike me as very productive.
  4. Nov 7, 2006 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Lack of sleep :biggrin:

    But surly if we knew why a photon is what it is and allowed in this universe
    it would be more productive than looking for ghosts.
  5. Nov 8, 2006 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    But that's just it; we don't know why a photon is what it is, or what gives an electron its properties. That's exactly what the theories involving higher dimensions are trying to discover. Research has to start with theory, or no new understanding can take place. String theories and brane theories are attempts to understand these questions that have not yielded to our understanding so far.

    I mean, what if the existance of higher dimensions, and the complex folding of matter and energy in these extra, unseen directions are the cause of the properties we call "mass" or "charge"? Then, without researching these theories, we'd never "know what forces control the elements".
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook