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No. 98: Mar-Apr 1995

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Can we explore hyperspace?

Anyone who watches Star Trek knows that the universe has more than four dimensions (3 of space, 1 of time). Spaceships are always whisking off into hyperspace. But can we prove that more than three spatial dimensions exist?

Shu-Yuan Chu, University of California at Riverside, has shown theoretically that in a five-dimensional world (4 of space, 1 of time) electric charge need not be conserved. This opens up an experimental avenue to test for an extra spatial dimension.

For background, recall that physicists originally maintained that mass and energy had to be conserved separately. Then, Einstein came along to show that mass and energy could be interchanged, via E = mc2 , but that they had to be conserved together. In Shu-Yuan Chu's five-dimensional universe mass and charge can be interchanged, but their sum must be conserved. In other words, there exists an E = mc2 equivalent for mass and charge in five dimensions. We could look for this extra spatial dimension by looking for a particle that can be converted into another particle with the same mass + charge, but made up of a different combination of mass and charge. If such reactions exist, we may be able to explore hyperspace in fact rather than in science fiction.

(Gribbin, John; "Can Electric Charge Be Destroyed?" New Scientist, p. 16, October 5,1994.)

From Science Frontiers #98, MAR-APR 1995. 1995-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987