This week’s media hype promoting a new observational test of extra dimensions is based on the recent arXiv preprint Transient Pulses from Exploding Primordial Black Holes as a Signature of an Extra Dimension. Stories about it have appeared already in Nature and in New Scientist.
Some of the authors are part of a group at Virginia Tech that is working with a radio-telescope array they call the Eight-meter-wavelength Transient Array (ETA). The possible astrophysical sources they are looking for include primordial black holes. The press articles however, aren’t about this, but about the new preprint, which makes claims not about conventional primordial black holes, but about ones involving extra dimensions:
For a toroidally compactified extra dimension, transient radio-pulse searches probe the electroweak energy scale (∼0.1 TeV), enabling comparison with the Large Hadron Collider. The enormous challenges of detecting quantum gravitational effects, and exploring electroweak-scale physics, make this a particularly attractive possibility.
In the New Scientist piece, astrophysicist Avi Loeb makes the comment:
There are a lot of layers here of nonstandard assumptions… If nothing could be observed in this context, then it would not surprise me.
According to the ETA web-site and the New Scientist article, as far as the extra-dimensional business is concerned, the project is led not by the faculty members involved, but by first author Mike Kavic, a graduate student in the department. Unlike most recent examples of such hype, which appeared in conjunction with the acceptance or publication of a paper in PRL, this one is based solely upon the submission of a paper to PRL.