22 November 2011

Understanding the Fourth Dimension

I was lying in bed contemplating existence when i had an epiphany (as one does :P). As the title suggests; i was exploring the fourth dimension, more specifically the fourth dimension of space rather than ‘time’ as a fourth dimension. While my profession is logic based, i’m not a mathematician. Certain areas of maths and physics deal with up to and beyond eleven dimensions but i was trying to get a layman's understanding of the fourth spacial dimension. Something to satisfy subconscious curiosity.


I imagined the fourth dimension as a long metal rod. If you were to slice that rod into paper thin discs, each one would represent the three spacial dimensions at a moment in time. That rod would be curved in certain areas representing the path of history. Lets say time travel was hypothetically possible. One might be able to go to a certain “disc” or set of discs and heat them up giving the rod the ability to change it’s shape thereby altering the course of history. The first thing that comes to mind when altering history is time travel paradoxes: if a person goes back and kills his younger self, will it erase the event of him from travelling back in time in the first place.

In the time travel paradox one can think of the rod instead as a tree-like structure; if a person travels from one branch and kills himself then the new branch will have a world without that person. The initial branch remains in the state it was in. While the tree could have an infinite number of possible branches, i think the number of probable branches is finite. Fractals are evidence that things tend to fall in place naturally.

There would also be an infinite number of possible trees. Each possibility being a different set of four spacial dimensions on a different timeline which i would imagine would be the introduction into the fifth spacial dimension. That’s what went through my head, if anyone can correct or expand on this please do so.