Brane cosmology

Brane cosmology

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Brane cosmology refers to several theories in particle physics
Particle physics
Particle physics is a branch of physics that studies the existence and interactions of particles that are the constituents of what is usually referred to as matter or radiation. In current understanding, particles are excitations of quantum fields and interact following their dynamics...

 and cosmology
Physical cosmology
Physical cosmology, as a branch of astronomy, is the study of the largest-scale structures and dynamics of the universe and is concerned with fundamental questions about its formation and evolution. For most of human history, it was a branch of metaphysics and religion...

 motivated by, but not exclusively derived from, superstring theory
Superstring theory
Superstring theory is an attempt to explain all of the particles and fundamental forces of nature in one theory by modelling them as vibrations of tiny supersymmetric strings...

 and M-theory
In theoretical physics, M-theory is an extension of string theory in which 11 dimensions are identified. Because the dimensionality exceeds that of superstring theories in 10 dimensions, proponents believe that the 11-dimensional theory unites all five string theories...


Brane and bulk

The central idea is that the visible, four-dimensional universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

 is restricted to a brane
Membrane (M-Theory)
In theoretical physics, a membrane, brane, or p-brane is a spatially extended mathematical concept that appears in string theory and related theories...

 inside a higher-dimensional space, called the "bulk". If the additional dimension
In physics and mathematics, the dimension of a space or object is informally defined as the minimum number of coordinates needed to specify any point within it. Thus a line has a dimension of one because only one coordinate is needed to specify a point on it...

s are compact
Compact dimension
In string theory, a model used in theoretical physics, a compact dimension is curled up in itself and very small . Anything moving along this dimension's direction would return to its starting point almost instantaneously, and the fact that the dimension is smaller than the smallest particle means...

, then the observed universe contains the extra dimensions, and then no reference to the bulk is appropriate. In the bulk model, at least some of the extra dimensions are extensive (possibly infinite), and other branes may be moving through this bulk. Interactions with the bulk, and possibly with other branes, can influence our brane and thus introduce effects not seen in more standard cosmological models.

Why gravity is weak

The model can explain the weakness of gravity relative to the other fundamental forces of nature, thus solving the so-called hierarchy problem
Hierarchy problem
In theoretical physics, a hierarchy problem occurs when the fundamental parameters of some Lagrangian are vastly different than the parameters measured by experiment. This can happen because measured parameters are related to the fundamental parameters by a prescription known as renormalization...

. In the brane picture, the other three forces (electromagnetism
Electromagnetism is one of the four fundamental interactions in nature. The other three are the strong interaction, the weak interaction and gravitation...

 and the weak
Weak interaction
Weak interaction , is one of the four fundamental forces of nature, alongside the strong nuclear force, electromagnetism, and gravity. It is responsible for the radioactive decay of subatomic particles and initiates the process known as hydrogen fusion in stars...

 and strong
Strong interaction
In particle physics, the strong interaction is one of the four fundamental interactions of nature, the others being electromagnetism, the weak interaction and gravitation. As with the other fundamental interactions, it is a non-contact force...

 nuclear forces) are localized on the brane, but gravity has no such constraint and so much of its attractive power "leaks" into the bulk. As a consequence, the force of gravity should appear significantly stronger on small (subatomic or at least sub-millimetre) scales, where less gravitational force has "leaked". Various experiments are currently underway to test this.

Models of brane cosmology

One of the earliest documented attempts on brane cosmology is dated by 1983.
The authors discussed the possibility that the Universe has dimensions, but ordinary particles are confined in a potential well which is narrow along spatial directions and flat along three others, and proposed a particular five-dimensional model.

In 1998/99 Merab Gogberashvili published on Arxiv
The arXiv |Chi]], χ) is an archive for electronic preprints of scientific papers in the fields of mathematics, physics, astronomy, computer science, quantitative biology, statistics, and quantitative finance which can be accessed online. In many fields of mathematics and physics, almost all...

 a number of articles where he showed that if the Universe is considered as a thin shell (a mathematical synonym
Synonyms are different words with almost identical or similar meanings. Words that are synonyms are said to be synonymous, and the state of being a synonym is called synonymy. The word comes from Ancient Greek syn and onoma . The words car and automobile are synonyms...

 for "brane") expanding in 5-dimensional space then there is a possibility to obtain one scale for particle theory corresponding to the 5-dimensional cosmological constant
Cosmological constant
In physical cosmology, the cosmological constant was proposed by Albert Einstein as a modification of his original theory of general relativity to achieve a stationary universe...

 and Universe thickness, and thus to solve the hierarchy problem
Hierarchy problem
In theoretical physics, a hierarchy problem occurs when the fundamental parameters of some Lagrangian are vastly different than the parameters measured by experiment. This can happen because measured parameters are related to the fundamental parameters by a prescription known as renormalization...

. It was also shown that four-dimensionality of the Universe is the result of stability
Stability theory
In mathematics, stability theory addresses the stability of solutions of differential equations and of trajectories of dynamical systems under small perturbations of initial conditions...

 requirement since the extra component of the Einstein equations giving the confined solution for matter
Matter is a general term for the substance of which all physical objects consist. Typically, matter includes atoms and other particles which have mass. A common way of defining matter is as anything that has mass and occupies volume...

 fields coincides with the one of the conditions of stability.

In 1999 there were proposed the closely related Randall-Sundrum
Randall-Sundrum model
In physics, Randall–Sundrum models imagine that the real world is a higher-dimensional Universe described by warped geometry...

 (RS1 and RS2; see 5 dimensional warped geometry theory for a nontechnical explanation of RS1) scenarios. These particular models of brane cosmology have attracted a considerable amount of attention.

Later, the pre-big bang, ekpyrotic
The ekpyrotic universe, or ekpyrotic scenario, is a cosmological model of the origin and shape of the universe. The name comes from a Stoic term ekpyrosis meaning conflagration or in Stoic usage "conversion into fire"...

 and cyclic
Cyclic model
A cyclic model is any of several cosmological models in which the universe follows infinite, self-sustaining cycles. For example, the oscillating universe theory briefly considered by Albert Einstein in 1930 theorized a universe following an eternal series of oscillations, each beginning with a...

 proposals appeared. The ekpyrotic theory hypothesizes that the origin of the observable universe
Observable universe
In Big Bang cosmology, the observable universe consists of the galaxies and other matter that we can in principle observe from Earth in the present day, because light from those objects has had time to reach us since the beginning of the cosmological expansion...

 occurred when two parallel branes collided.

Empirical tests

Until now, no experimental or observational evidence of extra dimensions
Extra dimensions
Several speculative physical theories have introduced extra dimensions of space for various reasons:*Kaluza-Klein theory introduces extra dimensions to explain the fundamental forces other than gravity ....

 has been officially reported. An analysis of results from the Large Hadron Collider
Large Hadron Collider
The Large Hadron Collider is the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. It is expected to address some of the most fundamental questions of physics, advancing the understanding of the deepest laws of nature....

 in December 2010 severely constrains theories with large extra dimensions.

External links

– Cosmological consequences of the brane world scenario are reviewed in a pedagogical manner. – These notes (32 pages) give an introductory review on brane cosmology. – Lectures (24 pages) presented at the First Aegean Summer School on Cosmology, Samos
Samos Island
Samos is a Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea, south of Chios, north of Patmos and the Dodecanese, and off the coast of Asia Minor, from which it is separated by the -wide Mycale Strait. It is also a separate regional unit of the North Aegean region, and the only municipality of the regional...

, September 2001.