Concepts of higher dimensions – Part 1 : Introduction to Dimensions

I have been fascinated by the concepts of ‘higher dimensions’, ‘time travel’ and ‘teleportation’ ever since I remember. Call me a ‘geek’ to your heart’s content, but in my opinion, if these concepts don’t excite you, you haven’t really understood them at all!

A lot of people have difficulty understanding these, and term them ‘sci-fi’ or ‘fantasy’ (my wife does too!). Truth is, it’s far from being a fiction/fantasy.

I shall try my best to explain these concepts in a very easy way. (So easy, even a caveman can understand it!)

For this first part, let me start off with explaining the theory of dimensions.

Let’s take the case of a point (a 0 dimension object). A point has no dimensions (in theory, of course!) It has no length, no height, no width. A hypothetical creature (call it ZED – for ZEro Dimensions) living inside this point, could go nowhere (what a life!!). Think of it as being trapped snug in a bubble with absolutely no room to move.

That is what a 0 dimensional world would seem like.

0 dimensional world

0 dimensional world

Let’s give ZED, another point right beside it’s own world. Maybe add another one. One more. And plenty more.
All these points, adding up, form a line. A line is a 1-dimensional object (it has length). So now, ZED has a little freedom to move. It can move along the length of it’s world. But still can’t move up/down or sideways (Like a rat in a snug tube)

This would be how a 1 dimensional world seem like.

1 dimensional world

1 dimensional world

Now, if we lay a number of this 1-dimensional worlds side-by-side, we could give ZED room to move lengthwise and width wise (imagine crawling in a room with extremely low ceilings). This world is now 2-dimensional.

2 dimensional world

2 dimensional world

Continuing the same trend, let us layer these 2-dimensional worlds on top of each other. Now ZED lives in a world similar to ours. It can traverse the length, width and also the height of it’s world.

3 dimensional world

3 dimensional world

So far, so good. It’s easy enough to understand the 3 spatial dimensions (plus the 4th dimension of time), but when you move on to a 4th spatial dimension, it drives one nuts! How do you imagine a 4th spatial dimension? How does one explain what it is? (And string theorists predict 11 dimensions!!! Pretty sure their brains are all curled up in the 11th dimension!)

Why is it so difficult to imagine or understand a dimension beyond the basic 3? Because we can’t see it. Because we can’t traverse it. I shall help you understand this in my next post.

Notes :
1. All the dimensions depicted in the images are illustrated to make it easier to understand
2. In reality, a 0 dimensional object would be like a smallest of points.
3. A 1 dimensional object would be like a thinnest of strings
4. A 2 dimensional object would be like a flattest sheet of paper
5. None of these objects would be able to fit anything inside it

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About Filya

'As you can see, we've had our eye on you for some time now, Mr. Jokhi. It seems that you've been living two lives. In one life, you're Firoz Jokhi, program writer for a respectable software company. You have a Social Security number, you pay your taxes, and... you help your wife carry out her garbage. The other life is lived in computers, where you go by the hacker alias Filya, and are guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for. One of these lives has a future, and one of them does not.' - The Matrix

Posted on August 12th, 2009, in Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Looking forward to your next post… Used to wonder about time travel and teleportation… but right now, the whole 4th dimension is sort of complicated to take…

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