To continue with the string theory/movie theme, a commenter just wrote in to tell about some new ideas for using M-theory to create a warp-drive. These are contained in some papers from the past year or two by string theorists Richard Obousy and Gerald Cleaver (see here, here and here). Today, as a tie-in to the release of the new Star Trek movie, Baylor University issued a press release with the title ‘Star Trek’ Warp Speed? Two Baylor Physicists Have a New Idea That Could Make it Happen, which states:
String theory suggests the universe is made up of multiple dimensions. Height, width and length are three dimensions, and time is the fourth dimension. Scientists believe that there are a total of 10 dimensions, with six other dimensions that we can not yet identify. A new theory, called M-theory, takes string theory one step farther and states that the “strings” actually vibrate in an 11-dimensional space. It is this 11th dimension that the Baylor researchers believe could help propel a ship faster than the speed of light.
Interesting to know that there’s a “new” theory called “M-theory”. Maybe it will replace the old one that has been around for 14 years or so. In any case, while the Woody Allen film is not out, the new Star Trek is, and when I go see it tomorrow night, the fact that it is based on solid science will be reassuring.
Update: Sadly, no explanation in the Star Trek movie of how M-theory was used in the design of the warp drives. However, according to EETimes, a Star Trek warp drive is already in the works.