brane theory

Escher and extra dimension theories

I went to an M.C. Escher exhibition that was a complete trip into the concepts of extra dimensions in theoretical physics. If you’re not familiar with his works, one of his best known prints is this

There’s a theory that we might be living on a three dimensional “brane” immersed in a higher dimensional space; and much like Escher’s room is projected, curved and distorted in the sphere he’s holding in the self-portrait, the physics we observe in our human world (”the sphere”) might be the projection of physical laws of this higher dimensional universe (”the room”), and our spacetime might be a curved version of this other spacetime.
The other thing that blew my mind was this print, which might look pretty simple at first:

Notice how your perception of space gets completely altered by one simple fact: a foundamental physical law, gravity, is violated. That alone changes space completely. The waterfall obeys the law of gravity, bu that implies that the rest of the water should absurdly move upwards, and so violates it. You can’t tell which way is up and which way is down, and not really in an “optical illusion” manner. I never realized in such a visual way how spacetime and forces are deeply linked.

There are quite a lot of his works that use this kind of “gravitational arbitrariness” to mess with space.

I don’t know, I don’t know, I kept thinking about it, it was like being in a pleasant physics-nightmare.