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Posted by Scott Abernathy on April 22, 2002 14:07:33 UTC

In the May issue of Astronomy magazine there was an article entitled "When branes collide". The article went on to discuss two different theories about the beginning and eventual fate of the universe. I am not very well versed in cosmology, astrophysics, and the like so I was a bit out of my league in trying to wade through the information. It seems there there are two models - The Ekpyrotic model and the Cyclic model. These models are in some way based on the "M-theory" which is part of superstring theory. I am not sure how to visualize these small dimensions that are supposed to exist. I am infering from the article that space is 3 dimensional, time is the 4th dimension, and we are "encased" in a 5th dimension. The other dimesions are smaller than the diameter of a proton. What does that mean? What are these dimensions a part of? Are we existing in them or are they just all around us? I don't know how to picture it!!

Also, according to the article, inflation also plays a part in all of these colliding branes. According to one of the scientists, inflation addresses the problem of the universe being uniform and flat. I thought the universe was curved, and I was under the impression that mass was not distributed evenly throughout the universe.

I was hoping somebody could clear up these cosmological enigmas for me.


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