ADVERTISEMENT
See Inside November 2005

The Illusion of Gravity

The force of gravity and one of the dimensions of space might be generated out of the peculiar interactions of particles and fields existing in a lower-dimensional realm

Three spatial dimensions are visible all around us--up/down, left/right, forward/backward. Add time to the mix, and the result is a four-dimensional blending of space and time known as spacetime. Thus, we live in a four-dimensional universe. Or do we?

Amazingly, some new theories of physics predict that one of the three dimensions of space could be a kind of an illusion--that in actuality all the particles and fields that make up reality are moving about in a two-dimensional realm like the Flatland of Edwin A. Abbott. Gravity, too, would be part of the illusion: a force that is not present in the two-dimensional world but that materializes along with the emergence of the illusory third dimension.

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 nature.com.
Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access.

Rights & Permissions
Share this Article:

Comments

You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Dinosaurs

Get the
latest special collector's edition, Dinosaurs!

Limited Time Offer!

Purchase Now >

X

Email this Article

X