See Inside June 2010

Extra Dimensions

The world's biggest particle collider might uncover new slices of space

Wouldn’t it be great to reach your arm into a fourth dimension of space? You could then liberate yourself from the shackles of ordinary geometry. Hopelessly tangled extension cords would slip apart with ease. A left-handed glove could be flipped over to replace the right-handed one your dog ate. Dentists could do root canals without drilling or even asking you to open your mouth.

As fantastic as extra dimensions of space sound, they might really exist. From the relative weakness of gravity to the deep affinity among seemingly distinct particles and forces, various mysteries of the world around us give the impression that the known universe is but the shadow of a higher-dimensional reality. If so, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva could smash particles together and release enough energy to break the shackles that keep particles in three dimensions and let us reach into that mind-blowing realm.

This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now!

Select an option below:

Customer Sign In

*You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content

It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on
Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access.

Rights & Permissions
Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Holiday Sale

Scientific American Mind Digital

Get 6 bi-monthly digital issues
+ 1yr of archive access for just $9.99

Hurry this offer ends soon! >


Email this Article


Next Article