How Many Dimensions Are There?
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But where would it go?

Theoretical physicist Oskar Klein later revised the theory, proposing that the fourth dimension was merely curled up, while the other three spatial dimensions are extended. In other words, the fourth dimension is there, only it's rolled up and unseen, a little like a fully retracted tape measure. Furthermore, it would mean that every point in our three-dimensional world would have an additional fourth spatial dimension rolled away inside it.

String theorists, however, need a slightly more complicated vision to empower their superstring theories about the cosmos. In fact, it's quite easy to assume they're showing off a bit in proposing 10 or 11 dimensions including time.

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Wait, don't let that blow your mind just yet. One way of envisioning this is to imagine that each point of our 3-D world contains not a retracted tape measure, but a curled-up, six-dimensional geometric shape. One such example is a Calabi-Yau shape, which looks a bit like a cross between a mollusk, an M. Escher drawing and a "Star Trek" holiday ornament [source: Bryant ]. Think of it this way: A concrete wall looks solid and firm from a distance.

Move in closer, however, and you'll see the dimples and holes that mark its surface. Move in even closer, and you'd see that it's made up of molecules and atoms. Or consider a cable: From a distance it appears to be a single, thick strand.

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Get right next to it, and you'll find that it's woven from countless strands. There's always greater complexity than meets the eye, and this hidden complexity may well conceal all those tiny, rolled-up dimensions. Yet, we can only remain certain of our three spatial dimensions and one of time. If other dimensions await us, they're beyond our limited perception -- for now. Can our brains see the fourth dimension?


How did the universe begin? Myth Everyday Myths. What is a dimension, and how many are there?

Calabi-Yau Animations by Jeff Byrant. Bryant, Jeff. July January Up Next " ". Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way. Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free! Getting a handle on some usage advice. You all would not have guessed some of these.

Set reporting dimensions

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Test your vocabulary with our question quiz! Synonyms for dimension Synonyms: Noun bulk , extent , magnitude , measure , measurement , proportion , size Visit the Thesaurus for More.

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Examples of dimension in a Sentence Noun She carefully measured each dimension of the room. The social dimensions of the problem must also be taken into account. Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Some might even question why a mirrorless camera a category which has always been about shrinking dimensions and heft of such mighty stature would be appealing, and this review is going to serve as my answer to that reasonable query.

First Known Use of dimension Noun 14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a Verb , in the meaning defined at sense 1. Learn More about dimension.


Resources for dimension Time Traveler! Explore the year a word first appeared. Dictionary Entries near dimension dime museum dimenhydrinate dime novel dimension dimensional analysis dimensive dimer. Time Traveler for dimension The first known use of dimension was in the 14th century See more words from the same century. English Language Learners Definition of dimension.