I just watched this youtube video by Rob Bryanton and am wondering that is there anything invalid/wrong in term of real physics.

I search for Rob Bryanton and it look like he has not-so-good reputation, for example here here and here

His video look good, presentation is smooth, has citation to lots of famous physicists and I didn't have enough knowledge about this topic to be able to spot any error (if there it is). And it is hard to believe that everything he said is false.

Question. Is there anything in his video wrong and how the correct information should be?

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    $\begingroup$ You could have a look at the crackpot index for a start. $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Mar 4, 2013 at 14:06
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    $\begingroup$ Up to about 4:30 it's full of forgivable popular mistakes which aren't too serious, but as soon as he mentions quantum mechanics it goes way down hill and immediately turns to garbage. Too painful to watch. His description of quantum mechanics makes no sense, and the many worlds interpretation (note: interpretation, not theory) has absolutely nothing to do with extra dimensions of space. The probability space of quantum mechanics - Hilbert space - is not related to spacetime. It's not orthogonal to spacetime in any meaningful sense. It's just an abstract mathematical space. Head explode $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Mar 4, 2013 at 14:24
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    $\begingroup$ And if for some perverse reason you insisted on combining Hilbert space with spacetime (which makes a complete goose of the mathematical structure of quantum mechanics) you would get an infinite dimensional space - not ten or whatever number he's plucked, without understanding, from popular literature on string theory in order sound passingly respectable. $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Mar 4, 2013 at 14:28
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    $\begingroup$ So this could be like "he mix lots of concept, some are individually true, in the non-sense way to make junk that look nice". $\endgroup$
    – wizzup
    Mar 5, 2013 at 1:29

3 Answers 3


This is perhaps best summarized by a review that was left on his book's amazon site:

I bought the book, because I am a graduate student in string theory and was curious about "new" ways of thinking in ten dimensions. I knew the author of the book was actually a musician (some research with google was required for that), but so is Brian May of Queen, and his book "BANG - THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE" is very well-written. Well, I couldn't be more wrong. Whereas Brian May studied physics (and is currently doing his long-lost PhD), Bryanton has never touched a scientific article, let alone stood near the mathematics required to grasp them. All his "knowledge" comes from science fiction (which he uses as genuine "references" for his wild ideas), popular science books (Greene, Kaku and Randall) and Scientific American.

Although the book is not intended to be a discription of "real physics", as he points out in the introduction, his ideas on ten dimensions and the alledged connection to string theory and the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics couldn't be stated more explicitely and couldn't be more wrong. The many world interpretation 'assumes' multiple universes in which all possible quantum processes do happen. Bryanton thinks these multiverses are in the dimensions 5 to 10. Moreover, our third spatial dimension is merely the thing "we fold through" to go from one place on a surface to another, which are not directly linked. If he is referring to the holographic principle, he's wrong there as well. Physically and mathematically, what he claims about space and time is absolute bullocks, if I may use the expression. The first chapter is exactly what is shown on his website and the rest is just a filler in which he tries to explain the ideas of quantum observation and its relation to philosophy, poorly. There is absolutely no (scientific) connection to string theory or whatsoever, except that the number 10 and the word dimensions are in the same sentence. The eleven dimensions of M-theory are in his view superfluous.

The book is perhaps intended to be scientifically and philosophically provocative, but in fact it is scientifically incorrect and at most philosophically boring. If you really want to know something about string theory and modern developments on a non-technical level, buy The Elegant Universe or The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, Hyperspace or Parallel Universes by Michio Kaku, or Warped Passages by Lisa Randall, and your money will be well-spent. Other ideas on quantum gravity can be found in Lee Smolin's "Three Roads to Quantum Gravity". For the mathematical inclined reader (as Greene would call it in the notes), Penrose's "The Road to Reality" could be interesting, which is a brilliant mathematical exposé of theoretical physics.

Moreover, because the author does not fully understand quantum physics, his explanations are even for scientists hard to follow, because they don't seem logical. For non-scientists, I cannot recommend this book either, since I don't think it will help you in any way: you probably won't understand the science and if you do understand what the author says, you understand the wrong thing.

I think these videos only prove that you can fool a lot of people into believing complete nonsense as long as your nonsense has good production quality.

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    $\begingroup$ Might also be worth recommending The Theoretical Minimum by Susskind and Hrabovsky. I haven't read it yet, but have heard good things. And note that both authors are actual physicists. :) $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Mar 5, 2013 at 1:38
  • $\begingroup$ The Shape of Inner Space by Shing-Tung Yau is very good too. It explains ST from the point of view of a mathematician, in fact he is the second half of the Calaby-Yaus, in an equetion free but not too dumbed down way. $\endgroup$
    – Dilaton
    Aug 11, 2013 at 14:53

It really depends on who you ask. Rob is no scientist a fact that will actually tell you and has said in quite a few of his videos. He's mostly a guy with a passing interest in physics and philosophy who found an interesting way to look at them together. It was his hobby and he decided to put it on youtube and eventually decided to make some money from it, because people were interested. He said in damn near every video that his views are not necessarily the same as the ones held by many actual physicists. Sadly for him that still doesn't keep people from verbally attacking him and calling him charlatan, when again he's always been pretty up front.

His "bad reputation" is mostly pretty recent. He always had detractors but they basically piled up in mass after the whole thing with minutephysics last year. The sad thing is I doubt any of those people have actually watched any of his videos to form an opinion for themselves. They all basically just jumped on the band wagon.


Many of Rob Bryanton's ideas are consistent with the Many Worlds Interpretation, and his critics fail to recognize that while he is using scientific knowledge, theory, and in particularly the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics as his foundational axioms, he is well aware that his theory of reality is not accepted by mainstream science, and in fact would be considered irrational by conventional scientists which rely on a deterministic mode of thought, including the MWI of quantum mechanics. As a result, Bryanton's theory of reality would be considered fringe science de facto, and attempts to invalidate his ideas simply because they are not compatible with mainstream science are arguably misplaced.

Bryanton's ideas really can't be considered definitively right or wrong, since they are well within the realm of metaphysics, an area far more subject to interpretation than conventional empirical science. Since the dimensions he proposes are quite literally "imagined" (that is, they can't be confirmed or debunked through observation or experimentation), his "Imagining Ten Dimensions" is more correctly understood as a philosophy that builds upon bleeding-edge scientific ideas, such as the MWI, to provide context and scientific relevance to his ideas.

His haphazard usage of scientific terminology, literature, and implicit support of many groundbreaking quantum physicists is certainly a mixed bag; on one hand, his lack of formal education and absence of published peer-reviewed work make him an easy target for skeptics; on the other hand, the resulting controversy generated by Bryanton gives him free advertising, bringing a self-sustaining flood of both supporters and haters, the intense reactions of both sides generating enough traffic for him to make a living on YouTube views alone. While this doesn't necessarily damage his credibility as a theorist, whether of the autodidact or academic variety, it certainly does invite questions about his motivations.


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