Shadows and Strings

Shadows live in a simple world. They glide effortlessly across any sort of surface, oblivious to the higher dimension of space in which 3-D bodies move, collide and sometimes block the paths of rays of light.

Shadows have no idea how important that third dimension is, and how objects in it endow those very shadows with their quasi-physical existence. Indeed, the laws of shadow physics all depend on the third dimension’s presence. And just as the clueless inhabitants of the shadow world require an extra dimension to explain how they exist and interact, reality for humans may also depend on an invisible dimension or dimensions unknown.

This analogy by Tom Siegfried is the single best didactic tool I have encountered to explain the concept that there are (likely) many dimensions to the universe beyond the three (plus time) that we experience as humans.

His article just so happens to be about the unification of the supercold and the superhot (sort of like saying “nothing” and “everything” are really the same thing), and the experiment which may be the first to validate string theory’s real-world predictive power.