Saturday, 26 March 2011

Cold dark sproing

Before recently starting my blog, I put bits of ephemera in my website's Commonplace book. One of the things mentioned there is a (very sketchy) plot for:
"Cold Sproing", a techno-thriller about one of the curled up space-time dimensions starting to uncurl when a low enough temperature is reached, causing spreading devastation around an Oxford cryogenics lab.
This idea was initially based on weird tea-time conversations whilst graduate students in the early 80s, spurred by an idea from Bill Saslaw that the early universe had fewer dimensions. When string theory and its curled up dimensions came along, hey presto: the "sproing" idea of the uncurling.

So we were amused to see that this idea is still around. Ian O'Neill has reviewed a paper by Mureika and Stojkovic (caveat: I've read the review, but not the paper!), who suggest that the early universe had fewer dimensions, but gets "promoted" to higher numbers of dimensions as the universe cools. Cool.

That reminded us of our story idea, and made us (briefly!) revisit it. Cosmology has moved on (in many ways) since our first decades-old outline. There's now Dark Matter (we don't know anything about it, except that it's matter) and Dark Energy (we don't know anything about it). Well, in our story at least, we now have a source for all that Dark Energy: those uncurling dimensions going "sproing".

The title is no longer "Cold Sproing", but now "Cold Dark Sproing". (The story is still, and doubtless will remain, unwritten.)

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