- John M. Campbell
The Nature of the Hidden Dimension
Updated: Aug 27, 2022
In "The Hidden Entity," Physicist Steven Harding is confined to a wheelchair with ALS, but it does not stop him from opening a hidden dimension predicted by string theory. Something emerges and enters his body. It cures his ALS, but when he discovers it has enters his wife's body and is affecting their unborn child, Steven must act to stop it.
This is another story that explores the #hiddendimension. I introduced the hidden dimension in my story, "The Loponine Exploitation," which appears in the Corporate Cthulhu anthology.
“What just happened?” Before Steven could raise his eyebrows, sparkles of light appeared before his eyes. Then the seizure started.
The Nature of the Hidden Dimension
One of the major efforts in physics during my lifetime has been the quest to unify Einstein's Theory of Relativity with Quantum Mechanics. Relativity covers the macroscopic forces of the universe including electromagnetism, gravity, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. Quantum mechanics covers the strange properties of the microscopic components of matter and energy. String Theory is one approach to creating a Grand Unified Theory whose equations would apply to both Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.
We experience our universe in three physical dimensions and one dimension of time, which Einstein called four-dimensional space-time. We can move through our universe in three orthogonal directions, up-down, forward-backward, and right-left, plus the forward direction in time. (Only our memories can go backward in time, but that is another story.) However, for the equations of string theory to work for both Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, the universe must consist of 10 dimensions (or more, in some formulations). It is thought that all ten dimensions may have existed in the fiery furnace of the Big Bang, but as the universe cooled, the extra dimensions curled up into an undetectably small size.
In my hidden dimension stories, a physicist named Dr. Richard Fullerton discovers a new state of matter where subatomic particles exist in a superposition of their state in our normal three-dimensional world plus their state in two dimensions of our world plus the hidden dimension. By applying a laser pulse at the correct frequency to matter in this state, the matter rotates into the hidden dimension, collapsing into a flat, two-dimensional form in our world. The scientist in "The Loponine Exploitation" sends a sphere into the hidden dimension and brings back a mysterious substance.
Alternatively, the physicist in "The Hidden Entity" creates an apparatus to peel open the hidden dimension (which one, I don't know), and the entity escapes into our world.
Another idea that has been bandied about is the possibility that because we are three-dimensional beings, we are not aware of the other dimensions that exist around us. As an analogy, imagine a two-dimensional being that exists on a surface like a piece of paper. They can move forward-backward and left-right, but up-down does not exist for them. Their mathematicians can conceive of such a universe where three dimension exist, but it is only the realm of their science fiction writers.
Perhaps we are the flatworms of a four-dimensional universe, an uninteresting part of the universe inhabited by four-dimensional beings. To them, we exist only in the pages of their three-dimensional books and movie screens.