Science News – What does this cryptic headline mean? Just this: unlike science fiction writers, physicists have always theorized that higher dimensions must be extremely small, so small that they could not possibly house anything like a living creature. So the idea of ?extradimensionals? has been as fanciful as the idea of aliens hopping in and out of ?wormholes,? an equally fictional idea.

How absurd is the idea of instantaneous ?hopping? across the space-time continuum? Look at it this way: to ?hop? like this from one streetcorner in your town to another, the ground must be ?warped? until the two places are touching underneath. Then you simply push your way through and you?re on the other streetcorner. However, warping the ground in your town would obviously take an awful lot of energy. Massive amounts of digging, hundreds of huge backhoes, immense destruction. ?Warping? the universe itself is equally energy-intensive and probably equally destructive, only on a somewhat larger scale.

There are, however, some remarkable new results that suggest that there might be one or two extra dimensions of space that would be much larger than conventional string theory predicts.

One of the studies, from a team at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva, Switzerland, suggests that these dimensions might produce effects that are detectable by the current generation of particle accelerators, or certainly by the next generation.

Another study suggests that extra dimensions may actually be enormous by previous standards, perhaps as large as a millimeter. And now researchers are discussing the inevitable question that has arisen, given the current model: could there be dimensions outside of our own that are, as far as we are concerned, effectively of infinite size?

If so, then maybe those strange creatures and ships that us UFO witnesses are seeing are indeed ?extradimensionals.?

If there are infinitely large other dimensions, then anybody living in them might arguably have as much access to our own world as we human beings do to the two-dimensional surface of a map. Or, if they are part of the three-dimensional universe but can enter these other dimensions by some currently unknown means, maybe they would turn out to be able to, in effect, defeat the barrier of space-time not by warping the universe, but simply by going around it.

Thanks to Science News, Vol 157, p 122-124, Feb. 19, 2000

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