February 2, 2007
by Jill Sakai
Peering backward in time to an instant after the big bang, physicists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have devised an approach that may help unlock the hidden shapes of alternate dimensions of the universe.
A new study demonstrates that the shapes of extra dimensions can be "seen" by deciphering their influence on cosmic energy released by the violent birth of the universe 13 billion years ago. The method, published today (Feb. 2) in Physical Review Letters, provides evidence that physicists can use experimental data to discern the nature of these elusive dimensions — the existence of which is a critical but as yet unproven element of string theory, the leading contender for a unified "theory of everything."