12 September 2006

The 10th dementia

I don't remember specifically when I first gained a good conception of what 3 dimensions meant, but I think soon thereafter I must have wondered how to make a fourth dimension. But how frustrating! No matter where I drew an additional line, it was already covered in the 3 dimensional space. How could I escape this prision! Well it turns out that even as I screamed this in my head I had escaped. I had travelled along the forth dimension as I sat thinking how to draw a line in the fourth dimension. Sooner or later I came to understand time as the fourth dimension. I had a vague idea that higher dimensions related to lower ones in much the same way, however I could not tell you how many dimensions exist or what any above the fourth were.

Enter this great flash animation. It goes a little quickly but if you can wrap your head around it, it is really cool to think about. Just think of the higher dimensions as the ability to fold the lower dimensions. Now I know why there can't be more than 10 dimensions!

Hat tip to AT at MR

2 comments:

Juan Carlos Bisso said...

I remember reading in The Elegant Universe that the latest String Theory (the latest when I read the book at least) required the universe to have 11 dimensions. I believe this was called M-theory.

Jeff Shepley said...

Well even this mentioned that something about subatomic particles being defined by probability waves created by vibrating strings in the 10th dimension... not sure if that implies an 11th dimension or not.