Researchers in Japan have developed what may be the first string-theory model with a natural mechanism for explaining why our universe would seem to exist in three spatial dimensions if it actually has six more. According to their model, only three of the nine dimensions started to grow at the beginning of the universe, accounting both for the universe’s continuing expansion and for its apparently three-dimensional nature.

Expanding universe as a classical solution in the Lorentzian matrix model for nonperturbative superstring theory

Sang-Woo Kim, Jun Nishimura, Asato Tsuchiya

Recently we have shown by Monte Carlo simulation that expanding (3+1)-dimensional universe appears dynamically from a Lorentzian matrix model for type IIB superstring theory in (9+1)-dimensions. The mechanism for the spontaneous breaking of rotational symmetry relies crucially on the noncommutative nature of the space. Here we study the classical equations of motion as a complementary approach. In particular, we find a unique class of SO(3) symmetric solutions, which exhibits the time-dependence compatible with the expanding universe. The space-space noncommutativity is exactly zero, whereas the space-time noncommutativity becomes significant only towards the end of the expansion. We interpret the Monte Carlo results and the classical solution as describing the behavior of the model at earlier time and at later time, respectively…… http://arxiv.org/pdf

String theory is a potential “theory of everything”, uniting all matter and forces in a single theoretical framework, which describes the fundamental level of the universe in terms of vibrating strings rather than particles. Although the framework can naturally incorporate gravity even on the subatomic level, it implies that the universe has some strange properties, such as nine or ten spatial dimensions. String theorists have approached this problem by finding ways to “compactify” six or seven of these dimensions, or shrink them down so that we wouldn’t notice them. Unfortunately, Jun Nishimura of the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) in Tsukuba says “There are many ways to get four-dimensional space–time, and the different ways lead to different physics.” The solution is not unique enough to produce useful predictions.

These compactification schemes are studied through perturbation theory, in which all the possible ways that strings could interact are added up to describe the interaction. However, this only works if the interaction is relatively weak, with a distinct hierarchy in the likelihood of each possible interaction. If the interactions between the strings are stronger, with multiple outcomes equally likely, perturbation theory no longer works……

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