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Brane cosmology refers to several theories in particle physics and cosmology motivated by, but not exclusively derived from, superstring theory and M-theory.

Brane and bulk
Main article: Membrane (M-Theory)

The central idea is that the visible, four-dimensional universe is restricted to a brane inside a higher-dimensional space, called the "bulk". If the additional dimensions are compact, 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. In the brane picture, the other three forces (electromagnetism and the weak and strong 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.[1]

Models of brane cosmology

The Randall-Sundrum (RS1 and RS2; see 5 dimensional warped geometry theory for a nontechnical explanation of RS1), pre-big bang, ekpyrotic and cyclic scenarios are particular models of brane cosmology which have attracted a considerable amount of attention. The ekpyrotic theory hypothesizes that the origin of the observable universe occurred when two parallel branes collided.[2]

See also

Kaluza-Klein theory
String theory
Loop quantum cosmology


^ Session D9 - Experimental Tests of Short Range Gravitation.
^ Musser, George; Minkel, JR (2002-02-11). "A Recycled Universe: Crashing branes and cosmic acceleration may power an infinite cycle in which our universe is but a phase". Scientific American Inc.. Retrieved 2008-05-03.

External links

Brax, Philippe; van de Bruck, Carsten (2003). "Cosmology and Brane Worlds: A Review". arXiv:hep-th/0303095. – Cosmological consequences of the brane world scenario are reviewed in a pedagogical manner.
Langlois, David (2002). "Brane cosmology: an introduction". arXiv:hep-th/0209261. – These notes (32 pages) give an introductory review on brane cosmology.
Papantonopoulos, Eleftherios (2002). "Brane Cosmology". arXiv:hep-th/0202044. – Lectures (24 pages) presented at the First Aegean Summer School on Cosmology, Samos, September 2001.
Brane cosmology on
Dimensional Shortcuts - evidence for sterile neutrino; (August 2007; Scientific American)

Astronomy Encyclopedia

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