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The effects of fractal dimensions could one day be observed if Casimir measurements can be made sensitive enough, according to theoretical physicist.

Back in the 1920s, Theodor Kaluza and Oskar Klein developed an idea that unified Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism with Einstein's theory of relativity.

That was an impressive feat but it had one small drawback. In the Kaluza-Klein model, the universe has 5 dimensions.

Kaluza and Klein were unfazed, however. They suggested that the fifth spatial dimension existed only on the Planck scale at distances of the order of 10^-35 m.

In fact, they imagined it as curled up on itself. So if it were possible to traverse space at this scale, any travellers in the fifth dimension would constantly end up where they started.

Since then, numerous physicists have used a similar approach to explain why we don't see the extra dimensions their theories predict.

A more recent idea is that the extra dimension may flit in and out of existence, like other quantum objects on this scale. And if this happens, the extra dimension would only partially exist. Physicists describe these dimensions as fractal--half way between one integer and the next.

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Category: Science