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“After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in aesthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are always artists as well.”
Artist Bathsheba Grossman http://www.bathsheba.com/crystal/calabiyau/
Creates beautiful representations which computational physics call the Calabi-Yau manifold. Calabi-Yau is the mathematical description of what could be the shape of the hidden 6 extra dimensions of the physical universe in which we only can perceive three spatial dimensions out of a total of nine. There is no way any of us can see the hidden dimensions, so clever scientists (not the mad ones) figured out how to find a way for us mortal to have a sense of what they are talking about. This crystal displays a three-dimensional section across the unimaginably small and complex 6 dimensional Calabi-Yau structure. The laser rendering is a wire frame representation of the simplified mathematical equation. It’s simply beautiful and allows a person (me) to peer into the Planck scale of the universe in awe.-<?xml:namespace prefix = o />
It’s unclear whether or not Eugenio Calabi or Sing-Tung Yau were able to pull back enough from the math to see the beauty of their creations, but we were able to find this beautiful crystalline cube with the Calabi-Yau manifold etched inside.
String Theory on Calabi-Yau Manifolds
Here’s an embarrassingly simplified crash course on superstring theory, so apologies go to the pros out there. Einstein’s famous theory of general relativity only works when the scale is very large. When things get small, they also get weird. The smaller you get, the math predicting behaviour starts to break down. Field strengths bend upwards towards infinity, and that can’t happen.
Down below the subatomic, smaller than we can probe with supercolliders, spacetime is twisted into a chaotic roiling froth – sometimes called the quantum foam. Down here, spacetime isn’t just four-dimensional (three spacial dimensions plus time), but ten-dimensional, and it needs to be to make the superstring theory work… But where are all those extra dimensions?
It is theorized that those extra six dimensions are compacted – folded up into twisted shapes that, when projected into the three spacial dimensions we can see, look like this. This shape is called the Calabi-Yau Manifold, named after mathematicians that designed the shapes.
According to string theory, space-time is not four-dimensional as you might expect, but actually 10-dimensional. The extra six dimensions are believed to be compactified or rolled up into such a small space that they are unobservable at human scales of sight. Their size and six dimensions make Calabi-Yau spaces difficult to draw. But, this model shows a three-dimensional cross-section of this likely space to reveal its structure and shape.
We are particularly inspired by Dr. Brian Green. Greene’s area of research is string theory, a candidate for a theory of quantum gravity. String theory attempts to explain the different particle species of the standard model of particle physics as different aspects of a single type of one-dimensional, vibrating string. One peculiarity of string theory is that it postulates the existence of extra dimensions of space – instead of the usual four dimensions, there must be ten spatial dimensions and one dimension of time to allow for a consistently defined string theory. The theory has several explanations to offer for why we do not perceive these extra dimensions, one being that they are “curled up” (compactified, to use the technical term) and are hence too small to be readily noticeable.
In the field, Greene is best known for his contribution to the understanding of the different shapes the curled-up dimensions of string theory take on. The most important of these shapes are so-called Calabi-Yau manifolds; when the extra dimensions take on those particular forms, physics in three dimensions exhibits an abstract symmetry known as supersymmetry.
Greene has worked on a particular class of symmetry relating two different Calabi-Yau manifolds, known as mirror symmetry (concretely, relating the conifold to one of its orbifolds). He is also known for his research on the flop transition, a mild form of topology change, showing that topology in string theory can change at the conifold point
Brian Greene explains String Theory and Quantum Physics & Mechanics