How do we comprehend other dimensions from our own? (Applied science and math)

barilan_internet-thumbScience most definitely should not be handled by the faint of mind. People need to understand that the difference between three-dimensional and two-dimensional is the number of axis. Any two-dimensional (2-D) object is defined by a “x” and “y” axis , where as any three-dimensional (3-D) object is defined by a “x”, “y”, and “z” axis. In simpler terms, a 2-D object has length and width, whereas a 3-D object has length, width, and height, therefore giving it volume.

Physicists believe there are anywhere from 10 to 26 physical dimensions, each discretely chosen from the patterns of atomic string vibrations. How would you explain the 10th dimension to someone? Perhaps the way to understand something abstract is through an analogy. Instead attempting to explain the concept of 10 dimensions through scientific terms, I will first attempt to explain how we relate to 2-D objects through actions in the 3rd dimension, and then relate the 3rd and 4th dimension together. I really hope that you are able follow along since I think this is one of the most fascinating physical characteristics of our world, and very few people understand the concept of multiple dimensions. Well, here we go!

What does a 2-D object look like? It looks like a drawing on paper, such as this stick figure:

StickMan

As you can see, the stick figure drawing large circle for a “belly”, but his “belly” has no volume. The image appears to be flat; only lines and curves. It lacks any depth or complexity. Now, if you were to add height to the image, you’d get a 3-D figure. Still confused? Well, a 3-D image would look like this:

FatMan

As I explained earlier, anything on paper (or a computer screen) is only 2-D, so this picture of a rotund man is really a 2-D representation of a 3-D object. Continuing forward with our analogy, let’s take a closer look at what a 2-D world would be like for our friend, Mr. Stick Man. If we were to draw a circle around Mr. Stick Man (see Figure 1), he would not be able to get out of the circle. In his 2-D world, Mr. Stick Man has no idea of what “height” is, and he is unable to cross over from the circle.

s1

Now we’ll relate the 3-D world to a 2-D object. Imagine that Mr. Stick Man needs a heart transplant. If he were a 3-D object, a heart transplant would require incisions of the abdomen so that the heart is revealed to the surgeon. However, if a 3-D doctor were to do a heart transplant on a 2-D object, the doctor would be able to reach into Mr. Stick Man’s “belly” and remove his “heart” without making a single incision.

The reason for this being that a 3-D doctor has the ability to enter from the 3rd dimension, and since the stick man has no idea of what “height” is, he can’t see or experience (feel) it. So imagine that you are the doctor, and you were able to reach into the paper and pull out his heart.

Now we must continue on our journey to explain how a 3-D person could interact with in 4-D space or vice-versa. If we continue our analogy from 2-D to 3-D, we suspect that 3-D to 4-D that exists. If a doctor in the 4th dimension were to perform heart surgery on you or I, then he could remove and replace our hearts without making incisions. As far as explaining what that 4th dimension is… well, let’s just say, I can’t explain a dimension that mankind doesn’t have a notion of. To fully comprehend any dimensions beyond the 3rd, you would have to take atomic physics and string theory courses where physicists analyze time travel and dimensional warping.

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