29 September, 2020

Finger Off The Paper

Don't plan a holiday to hyperspace just yet-- but allow the mind its excursions

Finger Off The Paper
You can't see it, you can't touch it, but it's everywhere, all around you. It's hyper-space, the fifth dimension...and it's right under your nose. But first, what exactly is a dimension? Think of it as a coordinate. You appear to live in three dimensions because it takes three coordinates, three numbers, to locate you. It could be longitude, latitude and your height above sea level. Or, to find a buried treasure, you might say walk ten steps north, five steps west and dig six feet down. However you do it, three numbers suffice to specify position and that's why the world appears three-dimensional.

It's natural also to think of time as a dimension. As Hermann Minkowski, Einstein's maths teacher in college, put it, "Nobody has ever noticed a place, except at a time, or a time except at a place." To arrange a get-together with your friends, it's not enough to give them the three spatial coordinates of the location; you also have to say at what time. That's one more number, so chalk up time as the fourth dimension. Actually, there's more to it...


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