Thad Meets TED



I am delighted to announce that TEDxBoulder has invited me to talk about “Visualizing Eleven Dimensions” at the upcoming TEDxBoulder conference (Boulder, CO, August 7th, 2010). I consider this invitation quite an honor and am looking forward to sharing my eleven-dimensional vision with the TED audience. I would like to extend an invitation to all quantum space theory supporters and science enthusiasts to attend this conference. Details can be found here.

TED talks are known for being packed with insightful people who get together with the intention of exposing themselves to a wide gamut of ideas worth spreading. TED has pushed the frontiers in the areas of design, sustainability, technology, and extremes. As one of those people that values the expansion of our intellectual horizon, TEDxBoulder and I invite you to join us in Boulder for a festival of imagination.

– Thad Roberts

Comments (30)

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  1. Thad,

    When will your book be coming out? I look forward to chatting with you on the live podcast, will you be taking all the calls that come in? I really think I have some good questions.
    -Frank Whitman

    • Thad Roberts says:

      My literary agent is handling the details of book publication and which publishing house we are going with etc., but I expect that the publication date will be some time next year. In the mean time, I can forward you additional pdf chapters if you desire to discuss them with me. I’ll look forward to talking about eleven dimensions with you on the live podcast. The interviewer will be handling the switchboards, so I cannot say that I have any control over which calls will be taken, but if your questions are not addressed please send them to me via this site.
      – Thad

  2. I just heard you are going to be available to talk via the web, I have really enjoyed your web site and hope to meet you some day. Exactly what day will you be doing the live show again? Thank You for your time. -Den

    • Thad Roberts says:

      If you would like to travel to Boulder, CO for the August 7th TEDxBoulder conference we would enjoy having you. Otherwise, I plan most presentations at the request of groups. Are you in Salt Lake City? If so, I’m sure we could make some plans. Let’s talk about your interest in quantum space theory, and see if we can put together another group of enthusiasts for a group discussion or another introductory lecture.
      – Thad

  3. Persa Minor says:

    Mr. Roberts,

    Will you ever be coming to Seattle Washington? I am a student and would like to know more about your theory’s.

    I heard about you being on the Neverhood show and will be tuning in.

    -Persa Minor

    • Thad Roberts says:

      I would consider setting up a quantum space theory conference in Seattle Washington. Perhaps, after the radio show and the TEDxBoulder conference, you can organize a group of people that have questions about dimensions, spacetime, and the mysteries of quantum mechanics and general relativity, and we can arrange a special group session. Would this be something of interest to you and your community?
      – Thad

  4. Andrew Hass says:

    I’m there Thad! While I don’t claim to understand everything you have to offer, I feel like without the information I am lost. (From a science point of view) I’m looking forward to calling in to the the radio show to ask my questions. -Andrew Hass

    • Thad Roberts says:

      I’ll look forward to your questions and your input. Are there any particular parts of quantum space theory that you find specifically difficult to understand? I know the entire book is not online or available to the public yet, but if you are interested in more details or information please let me know. We can start a discussion based on your questions and I will do my best to make it as clear as possible.
      – Thad

  5. Thad, you rocked the presentation. Your visuals were stunning and your presentation was terrific. Thanks again for being part of TEDxBoulder, we loved having you here.

    I hope it was fun for you as well!

    • Thad Roberts says:

      Thank you very much. The feedback has been great. Many people found the new perspective inspiring, and many others have expressed an increased motivation to study the outstanding mysteries in our world. To me, that means it was a success :-).

  6. M.j. says:


    I missed the October lecture by a week, and now I’ve missed the Boulder one by three!! Is QST still in print??

    • Geo says:

      The book, “Einstein’s Intuition” is awaiting publication. We are in the process of setting up another lecture. I suspect it will be sometime in October or November. Stay tuned for an announcement. If you’d like to read the whole book, please send an email to the link at the bottom of these pages and we’ll get you a pre-release PDF version.

  7. robert somerville says:

    very interested in your presentation. Could you give us some background on your research and where you are doing it ?? Thanks

    • Thad Roberts says:

      Thank you for your interest. Did you get a chance to watch the TED talk?

      Right now most of the work on quantum space theory is being done in collaboration with the Quantum Space Theory Institute, which is made up of a several talented theoretical physicists, mathematicians, philosophers, and computer graphics specialists that volunteer their time and effort due to their interest in the potential of this idea. One of the main projects the group is currently focusing on is solving for the specific spacetime dynamics equation – the exact set that encodes the characteristic curvature of say a black hole, even within the Schwarzchild radius, in such a way that we can derive the exact value of zhe (the geometric expression of the maximum state of curvature in the field of spacetime). Theoretical exactness for this number will enable us to predict some of the constants of Nature much more accurately than they are currently known. Several other topics are being researched in conjunction with qst, including: Bohmian Mechanics, supersymmetry, constraints on degrees of freedom, and many more.

      I am in Salt Lake City, but several of the QSTI members participate from different states.

  8. Fred Goode says:

    Hi Thad. I’ve been hearing stories about you for years. You know my son Justin from Florence. He speaks very highly of you and learned much from your teachings. I thank you for that.
    Your QST is fascinating. I’m struggling to visualize it completely, but based on Justin’s stories about your time together, I’m not at all surprised.
    I wish you all the best. If you are ever in Sacramento, CA, I would love to meet you and hang out with you and Justin for a bit. First round is on me :)

  9. Robert Harrigan says:

    Thank you so much for the information on your conversations and other presentations. I have come to many of the same conclusions that you have, even though I have no education in any form of physics except from what I have gotten from Scientific American and many books.

    I await for the publication of your book.

    I also like the fact that you do work with other people from the comments you have left.
    I too, like others, have some ideas on the concept of Quantum Space and I would like to keep in contact with you and bounce some ideas off of you. I am starting on writing up my ideas, and from your presentation, I know I am on the right track.
    When I am ready, I will let you review my work if you are so inclined and have the time.

    Thanks Again

    • Thad Roberts says:

      I would be happy to communicate and discuss ideas with you. I can also send you a pdf preprint of my book. I’ll send a link to the email you listed on your post. I look forward to hearing your ideas.

  10. Danny says:

    Doesn’t this theory imply a violation of Lorentz Invariance???

    • Thad Roberts says:


      If the background vacuum is a superfluid then, as you appear to picked up on, Lorentz symmetry becomes an approximate description valid only for small fluctuations instead of an exact symmetry of Nature. An observer inside this superfluid vacuum could create or measure these small fluctuations, but they would observe them as relativistic objects – unless the energy and momentum of those fluctuations were sufficiently high to make the Lorentz-breaking corrections detectable. So long as the energies and momenta stay below the excitation threshold the superfluid background behaves like the ideal fluid. This means that Michelson-Morley-type experiments would observe no drag force from such the superfluid.

      To push things further we could also note that in this theory Galilean symmetry (pertinent to our macroscopic non-relativistic world) also arises as the approximate one – applying to particles with velocities that are small compared to speed of light in the vacuum. The main advantage here is that this picture provides us with a more fundamental, and ontologically valuable, explanation. In this theory we do not need to go through Lorentz symmetry to obtain the Galilean one – the dispersion relations of most non-relativistic superfluids are known to obey the non-relativistic behavior at large momenta. In short, the fluctuations of the vacuum superfluid automatically behave like relativistic objects at “small” momenta (within the “phononic” limit) and like non-relativistic ones at large momenta.

      Great insight!


  11. Lamba Alexandru says:

    Hi Thad,
    It seems to me that you are talking about two totally different sets of dimensions in the beginning of this video and in the end. First, you make the analogy of how a 2D intelligent being would perceive and try to understand 3D object cross-passing through it’s world, which it believes to be all there is. So, not knowing about the 3 existing dimensions, the 2D creatures observe the circles that are the sections of the balls as they traverse their world, and try to explain the phenomenon in XY (2D) only. They cannot, because the balls do not belong to XY (2D) world, but to the XYZ (3D) world, and what the 2D creatures can perceive are the mere sections of the more complex objects. (let me know if I got it wrong so far).
    OK, now, when you go further, into our 3D world analysis and state that we cannot explain several phenomenons happening in here because we do not have real picture of what’s going on, but mere 3D XYZ reflections (or projections) of more complex things, and therefor we need to extend the dimensions our geometry currently uses, the other dimensions you introduce are not of the same kind. I mean you remain with XYZ as “number of quanta” and introduce the notions of “space within space” and “space between space” but here is the catch: BOTH OF THESE notions are in fact also 3 dimensional, just like out own XYZ!
    So, what I mean is: in case of 2D (XY) space being insufficient, we add a third dimension (Z) perpendicular on the other two, and we get a 3D XYZ space, with all dimensions perpendicular on one another.
    On the other hand, when we have our 3D space and it’s being incomplete, the other dimensions you introduce here are NOT perpendicular on the other already existing 3. For me, it would have been more intuitive to simply introduce just one more dimension (W) for instance) and have a 4D system of XYZW, with all 4 axis perpendicular on one another. (And so on and so forth into many other dimensions if you like, but still having perpendicularity between each 2 axis.
    If you would say: “we can’t have 4 lines perpendicular on one another” I would simply say: “not in 3D but in 4D”, just like we would say to a 2D scientist calming that there can’t be 3 perpendicular axis, and he would be right in plain, but not in space geometry.
    If we would have had that, we could have explained just as easy the space curve, the gravity, and so on, just by joggling with these other dimensions that are simply unpreventable for us, as 3D creatures.
    Thank you, let me know if I make any sense to you, and sorry for the long boring message.
    – Alex Lamba

    • Thad Roberts says:


      Thank you for the insightful question. First let me state that you appear to understand the Flatland analogy perfectly. Second, you are right… the kind of dimensions ARE different. That’s kind of the whole point. In the past our allegiance with Euclidean structure has held us back from making progress. Let me see if I can make this a bit more clear. The Euclidean notion of space assumes certain properties that we used to think applied to the real world. It had three orthogonal spatial dimensions, and each of these was infinitely extendable and infinitely divisible. These properties necessitate a space that is exactly the same on all possible scales. The problem is that we now have reason to believe that the metric of x, y, z space is not the same on all scales. First, the progress of quantum mechanics suggests that the familiar x, y, and z dimensions are not infinitely divisible. It appears that we cannot subdivide those measures infinitely and still have a self-similiar picture. Things dramatically change when we approach the Planck scale. Second, orthogonality does not necessarily simplify to “perpendicular” on the microscopic scales (even when there is no curvature present). Third, curvature entirely messes with this picture.

      A dimension is a dimension if it provides an independent kind of motion, or describes positions that cannot be described by the other dimensions. If we assume the Euclidean grid then orthogonal appears to be a synonym to perpendicular. But in the real world this simplification can get us into trouble. Nature, it seems, is not Euclidean. What its exact geometry is – is up for debate. I offer up a geometry that gives us ontological access to why the quirks of quantum mechanics exist in the first place, but there may be other possible explanations that arise in the future. At any rate, the goal is not to convince you or anyone else that Nature assumes the model I’m elaborating. Rather the goal is to express a new idea, mine its merits, and hopefully inspire other new ideas in the process. To fully accomplish this task we need to work out the details of communicating the richness of that idea, follow its assumptions to new postulates, and conclusions, critique the idea within the constraints of its own logical structure, and compare its merits to other interpretations (by making sure it agrees with experiment and checking to see if it provides us with any extra ability to answer the outstanding questions).

      Back to your comment… Yes the dimensions I introduce come in groups that have their own internal 3D orthogonality (just like we used to assume for x, y, z). (Note: this isn’t the whole picture. Technically the dimensional structure in this model is based on a fractal, so none of the additional dimensions are actually infinitely divisible.) And yes superspatial dimensions and intraspatial dimensions are different than familiar spatial dimensions (x, y, z) because in this model the fact that the familiar spatial dimensions are not infinitely divisible is made explicit at the onset.

      You say that for you it would have been more intuitive to simply introduce one more dimension with all four axis being perpendicular to one another. I’d like to see an intuitive model of this. Can you imagine a way to have four spatial dimensions that are all orthogonal? Can you draw an intuitive picture of it? If so, please share. As I am currently unable to imagine such a feat, I find it very intuitive to have access to a richer geometry (albeit 11 dimensional) that does allow me to intuit what another orthogonal dimension might be. Without quantizing x, y, and z I’m not sure this is possible – but I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

      Sincerely yours,


      • Lamba Alexandru says:

        Hello Thad,

        Thank you, first of all for the kind detailed answer and for your time. I’m now more enlightened. Let me just state that I am not challenging your model at all, I just think it can be further developed. I do understand the point you are trying to make, and I do not disagree at all with the notion of quantified space and time, for it was something that was also on my mind for quite a while, (I was just calling that concept “the frequency and granularity of existence”) it’s just that the quantification should not exclude the existence of more euclidean dimensions, and let me briefly explain why, in my own view: Because in this case, where we only have XYZ as material dimensions (and another 6 dimensions of “space within space” and “space between space”), two or more different material entities CANNOT coexist in a point characterized by the same X, Y, and Z coordinates. If we introduce a 4th dimension perpendicular on the other 3, we could have this, by placing one entity at point X, Y, Z, W and another at point X, Y, Z, Q, just like in your example of moving the ball on only one of the 3 dimensions, while the other 2 remain unchanged. In your theory movement in “space within space” and “space between space” can happen, but not material coexistence. This is what I believe is the short-come of this model right now, but it can be just as easily be overcame by introducing the 4th (5th, etc) material dimensions that does respect the perpendicularity to the other 3, but is not necessarily infinitely divisible. Just think about this: if a 2D scientist would have elaborated this model just like you did, he would have came up with 8 dimensions (XY, 2 of “space within space” and 2 “space between space”, + the time and vibration) instead of your 11, am I right?
        Anyway, I actually DO have a very intuitive and simple, but sustained by solid mathematical argumentation model that I designed myself for extending the euclidean geometry into 4D and beyond, and I even do have representations of 4D figures I bet you would understand and accept once I explain. (further than 4D it really gets messy and even doe my calculations can go there, the view cannot follow).
        So, just let me know if you are interested, and I’ll share some examples and equations of with you, otherwise I would not want to waste your time.

  12. Hi Thad,

    First of all I would like to thank you for sharing with us this beautiful theory. I think I have understand your point of view, but I have a couple of question that I can answer myself, using your model.

    1. I can see how you explain matter in this video but I cannot understand the concept of energy. I am interested how can you describe the energy and how a particle is moving from one bubble of space to another bubble of space. And here comes the third misery for me: It is possible to apply Einstine’s equation e=mc2 or it is possible to transform energy to matter in your model?

    2. You have explained gravity as a dense cluster of space bubbles. As far as I know, a black hole is expanding while ‘eating’ matter. This means that the cluster of space bubbles is expanding to, that means that space bubbles are attracted (somehow) in the cluster. So my understanding is that there is a force of attraction between these space bubbles determined by matter. Am I right? Also the movement of planets are changing these clusters because the planets are moving trough space, so the clusters are permanently changing.

    In fact,there should be a force keeping this bubble in order, otherwise the universe will be only chaos.

    3. In your model, there is antimatter?

    4. Can we get a article or a book containing more details about your theory (me and Alex Lamba who also wrote to you, we are very interested in your theory), maybe this will answer all our questions.

    5. I would also like to make a suggestion. Have you consider combining your theory with the String theory? I can see many similarities between these two theories. Lets start from your theory:
    (a) In my view, each bobble of space from your video can have multiple states (I am a programmer so this is why I view it like this): empty or filled with some kind of matter.
    (b) But in string theory a string can have a different frequency, determining the type of matter.

    From (a) and (b) I assume that your bubble of space is in fact a string or a string is in fact a bubble of space which vibrates on a certain frequency. If the bubble/string does not vibrate, this means that the space is empty, if a bubble/string vibrates, this means that the space is filled with some type of fundamental particles. Starting from this, I think that the universe is actually composed from space bubble/strings with different states or frequency’s.

    Thank you again.

    • Thad Roberts says:

      1. My explanation of matter was a bit oversimplified in that short video. Here is the distinction between matter and energy. In general the terms are interchangeable as they both represent metric distortions which manifests in how the quanta are dispersed. The property that matter has that light doesn’t is that it is localizable. It is a metric distortion that can be maintained without propagating across the medium. Since I make the assumption from the get go that the vacuum is a superfluid, the separation between light and matter becomes like the difference between waves and whirlpools (phonons or sound waves versus quantum eddies). Einstein’s conversion equation perfectly applies.

      2. In this model all forces are transformed into geometric properties. When a black hole grows via adding material, the distorts are combined. Therefore, the distortion we label black hole becomes more distinct. But no magical force is needed to make this happen. Superfluids carry eddies that do not dissipate and they can be combined. Just think of combining whirlpools into one large whirlpool. This is explained quite well in my book. See the forces chapter.

      3. Yes. Antimatter is expected in this model, though each universe should be mostly one or the other – as a consequence of thedynamics of its last big bang.

      4. I will email you a link to the current PDF tonight. In the mean time check out the formalism page through this website.

      5. I agree, there is some notable overlap between this theory and string theory. There are some differences also. This model makes specific testable claims that string theory does not. It’s posits Lorentz symmetry as an approximation to a deeper truth and therefore deviates from the traditional expectations. This gives it testablility and it also does something that string theory cannot do – it opens the door to ontological clarity.

      I’m interested in hearing how your thoughts change as you read the rest of the book. I’m leaving from Cartegena, Columbia tomorrow to sail all the way to France on a small boat. I might be difficult to reach for about 6-7 weeks. Maybe by then you and Alex will have incised the book.


  13. SeanMauer says:

    Great Lecture! I always thought that the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics was a conspiracy to prevent people from discovering extra-dimensional realities.

  14. Hi Thad,
    Saw your Ted talk. Never heard granular space, eleven dimensions (and their consequences) explained so clearly.
    But when you talked about red-shift you lost me. I get the analogy with the tunnel and change in pressure. I did this experiment with a bell ringing in a jar where we depressurised the jar. Before the sound goes it changes pitch, so that’s clear to me.
    But if I try to shift that to 11-d space, to explain red-shift other than with speed and the doppler-effect, wouldn’t that mean that there was a consistent drop in density of space particles? (Sorry if I don’t use the right words, I don’t have the right training)
    But red shift meant expansion, because it was true in all directions. In your model, wouldn’t it mean, we were at the highest pressure-point? So why isn’t earth a black hole then?
    You said something way at the end about small amount of inelasticity to make red shift a logical consiquence. I don’t get that. And in which of the 11 dimensions did you mean they were inelastic and in what way? And how would this account for the los of energy (sort of like friction?) Then were does the energy go?

    You have probably described this somewhere and it seems worth exploring. Could you point me in the right direction, please?
    If it forms a logical whole, it would raise some serious questions about the big bang, but it would also explain a lot about the reported behaviour of particles (although being in two places at once still seems a stretch).
    (Sorry about the ‘reported’, but I’ve personally never been near a bubble chamber or anything and I’m a sceptic at heart and somewhat of an expert at how we fool ourselves).
    It would also explain some of the particle/wave question of photons. It could be both particle and wave at the same time, couldn’t it?

    About your analogy of the tunnel and the tuning-fork, it struck me, that it could also be both. Actually somebody could be going further from you at great speed and the perceived pitch could still be raised, because of the increasing pressure.
    We experienced the same uncertainty with the bell-in-a-jar-experiment. Would the sound waves travelling slower be thwarted by the drop in air-friction the bell experiences, causing it to vibrate with more conserved energy and thus quicker?
    This was a theory of mine, which turned out to be false, I lost the bet.. but the same uncertainty should be present in your situation.
    Couldn’t it be both at the same time?

    • Thad Roberts says:

      Hi Hjalmar,

      Thank you for this question. Yes, the bell in your example will have a certain resonance frequency, vibrating at a specific rate and producing a specific note. And as you observed, when you decrease the pressure around the bell, as it is creating its sound, the note received by the observer drops in pitch. From this you are correct to note that the analogous system in space should see a redshift if the “pressure” of space decreases. In short yes, this model is claiming that since the big bang the quanta of space that make up our universe have gone from high “pressure” and high “temperature” to lower in both. In other words, they have been slowly losing energy as they collide. I am putting quotes around “pressure” and “temperature” here to signify that these concepts are superspatially defined (since we are taking about emergent properties of the quanta and their interactions). This slight inelasticity leads to the stretching of the phonons moving through space (like light), but it does so uniformly. So no matter where you are observing from, light coming from very distant sources will be redshifted. The more distant the light source the more it will be redshifted. I should note that this does not contradict Doppler redshifting. The Doppler effect is still a full expectation from actual relative motion in this model. As objects move towards us we expect a compression of the waves they are emitting, and as they move away from us we expect a stretching of those waves. So if an object is orbiting another body, such that it regularly goes away from us and them back towards us (we are in the plane of its orbit) the Doppler effect is why the redshift and blueshift is observed between objects with relative motion between them. Redshift, however, can also accomplished when the pressure of the system drops, as we noted earlier with the bell. Consequently, the mystery of dark matter vanishes when we assume that the vacuum is a quantized medium whose pressure and temperature have dropped over time. You asked what is responsible for this inelasticity. Very good question. I explain all of this in further detail in my book, but here’s a short version. (I’m emailing you a copy of the book. I’d love to know if it answers all of your questions.) What causes this loss of energy? To answer that we must first make sure that it is clear what energy is – how it is represented in the model. Sustained fluctuations or warps in the arrangements of the quanta are energy. If those geometric distortions are locally coherent, like a sonon (think smoke ring) that does not dissipate (a phenomenon characteristic of superfluids) then we can point to where they exist over a temporal duration. These kind of distortions are called matter. Other distortions, like phonons, are propagating distortions that move at a speed characteristic of the medium they are in (for the superfluid vacuum the propagation speed equals the speed of light), for example, light. If we imagine a phonon moving through the medium of the vacuum (a phonon is a collective excitation in the arrangements of a medium’s constituents – like a pressure wave) we note that its existence is supported by the way in which the collisions occur between the substrate’s ingredients. For a given medium the propagation speed of that phonon will always remain constant, but the total energy of that phononic distortion will only remain fixed if the collisions between the fundamental quanta of the medium are perfectly elastic. But in order for those collisions, which involve a compression and a rebound, to be perfectly elastic they must be made up of infinitely divisible parts. In this model we are not making this assumption. In fact, we are making the opposite assumption – and assuming that the vacuum medium is made up of quanta, and that those quanta are ultimately made up of much finer parts called subquanta, and those subquanta are made up of even finer parts, sub-subquanta, and so on. So if the quanta are made up of parts, and two of them collide then the subquanta will be forced to take on different arrangements – they will become compressed tightly together. From the resolution scale of the quanta themselves, let alone from the scale that is natural to our eyes, this amount is minuscule, but it is not zero. The amount is also additive, so as the number of collisions involved in any such propagation the amount of energy loss increases. The energy that goes into rearranging the internal parts of the quanta is the energy loss that occurs in every collision between quanta – leading to the draining of energy as light moves across long distances of space, causing redshifting, and accounting for the effect we currently blame on “dark energy.”

  15. JD Green says:

    So its easier to visualize if we say

    A helicopter – has 3 spatial dimensional movements here on earth
    #Though on the Earth, on which the helicopter operates, it has not changed its interspatial-position
    The 3 dimensional movement of the helicopter takes place on earth, which itself is in movement, so intraspatial movement
    All of the movement of the Earth around the SUN takes place within a Solar System which is in movement, superspatial movement
    And a Galaxy which is also in its own dimensional movement, – he didnt give this movement a name

    So the universe and everything in it is a fractal of itself.

    The Universe is full of quanta much like Earth’s Oceans are full of quanta (H2O) but much less dense…He considers this dark matter. I wonder if it evaporates into dark energy? or vice versa …

    I also wonder if the Universe were a giant fishbowl with the Galaxies floating around in it and the Water we float in (Dark Matter/Energy) how would we know from our perspective?

    Universe Quanta (Dark Matter = Universal H20 (Ocean reference) | Dark Engery evaporating Dark Matter (Steam lol) causes drag, density differences, gravity waves would be perturbations in the 3D matrices we are within…very interesting

    So like the Ocean has currents, rivers, the universe would as well…very interesting…

    So if we study the states of water – we should be able to describe Dark Matter and Dark Energy by macroscopically thinking about the interactions observered and predicted

    If any of this is correct then Christaan Hyguens would be proven correct…Huygens has been called the leading European natural philosopher between Descartes and Newton.[61] He adhered to the tenets of the mechanical philosophy of his time. In particular he sought explanations of the force of gravity that avoided action at a distance.[62]