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Lisa Randall studies theoretical particle physics and cosmology at Harvard University. Her research connects theoretical insights to puzzles in our current understanding of the properties and interactions of matter. She[…]

Exponential warping, Randall says, has large implications.

Lisa Randall: Well I think the fact that there can be this exponential warping and it has these really dramatic implications is pretty important. Its important for the reason that I just said, which is that it might explain why mass scales are different. It could be relevant for other places where youd want different mass scales, such as inflationary cosmology. But we also found something else that was very interesting  that you could actually have an infinite dimension of space; thats an extra dimension, a fourth dimension of space that you dont see. And this is really radical in the sense that since basically physicists always thought that if you had extra dimensions, they had to be tiny because we dont see them. Its pretty intuitive. If somethings really small, you dont see it. And so the idea that you had very curled up or finite-sized extra dimensions. And that was basically what people thought was essential  for us not to see them. It turns out that this strong warping that we discovered could also mean that gravity is so concentrated that you dont see it in an extra dimension of space. So that could have radical implications obviously for our universe.  Recorded On: 11/2/07