Definition of 'Brane'

Superstrings, conceptual artwork
PASIEKA / Getty Images

In theoretical physics, a brane (short for membrane) is an object which can have any number of allowed dimensions. Branes are most popular for their presence in string theory, where it is a fundamental object, along with the string.

String Theory

String theory has 9 space dimensions, so a brane can have anywhere from 0 to 9 dimensions. Branes were hypothesized as part of string theory in the late 1980s.

In 1995, Joe Polchinski realized that Edward Witten's proposed M-Theory required the existence of branes.

Some physicists have proposed that our own universe is, in fact, a 3-dimensional brane, on which we are "stuck" within a larger 9-dimensional space, to explain why we can't perceive the extra dimensions.

Also Known As: membrane, D-brane, p-brane, n-brane

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Jones, Andrew Zimmerman. "Definition of 'Brane'." ThoughtCo, Oct. 23, 2017, Jones, Andrew Zimmerman. (2017, October 23). Definition of 'Brane'. Retrieved from Jones, Andrew Zimmerman. "Definition of 'Brane'." ThoughtCo. (accessed February 18, 2018).