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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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how many dimensions do we live in? - March 21st 2009, 07:04 AM

I know the title sounds pretty silly, however, I was thinking and reading. This isn't for a course but, Minowski spacetime uses Einstein's special relativity and adds time onto the classical physical laws of 3 dimensions (length, width, height), producing 4 dimensions. Of course, there's also the String Theory / M-theory, D-theory, etc..., however those I'm not going to break my brain with understanding all of them. So, I'm curious, is it 3 or 4 dimensions?

I was thinking it has to be 4 because classical physical laws don't include time, and we obviously are affected by time, therefore, there must be time, therefore, time must be part of the dimension. But, we cannot see time. A watch or clock isn't time, it's motor parts ingeniously designed to move in such a fashion. But we can see length, width and height by looking at almost anything.

Then again, certain things violate these 3 classical laws (and probably the 4th one according to Minowski spacetime). I'm sure that even though they violate these laws, it doesn't necessarily mean that these laws are incorrect, or does it?

I'd ask a professor on maybe Tuesday (too busy on Monday unless I go unnecessarily early to campus), and e-mailing them I wouldn't like as they cannot properly explain it to me directly. I know most of you THers probably cannot answer it, however, if you can give an educated guess (i.e. look something up) or are educated in this, then reply.

Once again, this isn't for a course, it's merely for my curiousity.
   
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Re: how many dimensions do we live in? - March 21st 2009, 10:04 AM

Length, Width, and Height make it a three dimensional universe, time, to me, is simply a human factor. We base it off of things around us, as we do with the length, width, and height. In reality, is it not all based off of the human mind? My brain is broken, so forgive me, Nick.

Is it really dimensional at all then? Makes some semblance of sense to me, however, I don't know how to word it. We define our worlds by measurement, however if we made up those measurements, our world is defined on the very minds we've got that grow. My point being: Do you think we live in any dimension at all? Simply for the fact that we created this dimension in terms we can understand. Or did we create how to describe said dimension, and it's 3 or 4? I'm not sure either. I hope this gives you some of an answer you want.



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Re: how many dimensions do we live in? - March 21st 2009, 11:24 AM

I believe it is 4... But then once again I dont know... I think time isn't just a human based factor, people are always doing things, things are always happening, changes are made in the past that cant be undone, people age over time, we obviously have the 3 dimensions, but I fancy time as a fourth... The way I picture it in my head is as of a 3 dimensional cube, moving along the X axis of a graph, and there is your 4th dimension... The Y axis is simply a place for more 3 dimensional shapes to start... Its kind of hard to explain, but thats how I see it... But yeah I think, its 4...



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Re: how many dimensions do we live in? - March 21st 2009, 11:47 AM

I do understand the spacetime a little. And I believe on earth, it's 3, but in space, its 4, because time changes a lot in space. Distance changes perspective, I'm not sure if you're familiar with the spaceships...You're on one, and another is some distance away from you, a metre ruler on that spaceship, you measure as only a fraction of a metre.
Also... in space, the closest you can get to a straight line is a sort of circle, I can't fully recall why, and I lent my book to a friend, so I can't look it up just now. It is to do with the fourth dimension, and obviously on earth, straight lines are not circles, they are straight lines, hence why I believe on earth its a 3 dimensional world, but in space, 4 dimensional.


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Re: how many dimensions do we live in? - March 21st 2009, 05:11 PM

It's 4. tk388 came close to explaining why. Imagine an object. If it's 0cm wide, it can't exist, right? It isn't there. Same with 0cm long or high - it has to take up space to exist.

Now think of the time dimension. If an object doesn't take up some time, like it isn't somewhere between 10 and 11:30, then it can't exist either. The hour-and-a-half is another form of measurement, like 3cm. It's just how we see things as this slice of time after this slice that makes it seem like time's different, but not really.

We don't really have to worry about time as another dimension until you consider two objects travelling at very high speeds and things like that - google Minkowski Diagram, it shows what tk388 was talking about (ie time plotted on a graph)
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Re: how many dimensions do we live in? - March 21st 2009, 11:31 PM

I looked up the Minkowski Diagram, and I can understand that it would be 2 objects at a high speed. However, what if we were considering the fact that humans or even the gases around us have atomic and sub-atomic particles moving incredibly fast, with a source of light in the room. We have the photons present, we have the electrons, protons, neutrons also present. On Earth, things can move incredibly fast, so wouldn't it also be 4 dimensions?

And yes, they are human-made dimensions, although I don't see what that has to do with it. Time is not a human factor in the sense that humans theorized it. We can easily see something aging, we can see objects moving at various speeds. However, I don't see the significance of saying it's a human factor.

According to the classical physical laws, yes, it has to have some amount of length, width and height. Adding in Minkowski's spacetime, then it also has to have time. However, consider P-branes, the idea that a membrane (or possibly object) has to have some amount of spatial dimensions. It also allows there for P = 0, that is, a zero-dimensional point particle. It also allows for an object of, say, 3 dimensions, to be perceived as zero dimensions if it's very very very far away. In reality, that 3-D object has dimensions, however, from the viewer's perspective, there is no dimensions. Some of these things would include elementary particles, such as leptons, quarks, etc... .
   
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Re: how many dimensions do we live in? - March 22nd 2009, 12:37 AM

Doesn't quantum physics say there are 20 something dimensions? I wouldn't be surprised...
   
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Re: how many dimensions do we live in? - March 22nd 2009, 09:08 AM

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Doesn't quantum physics say there are 20 something dimensions? I wouldn't be surprised...

.... No, it says there are roughly 10-12, and those are in the String Theory and M-theory that I mentioned in the first post.
   
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Re: how many dimensions do we live in? - March 22nd 2009, 10:36 AM

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I looked up the Minkowski Diagram, and I can understand that it would be 2 objects at a high speed. However, what if we were considering the fact that humans or even the gases around us have atomic and sub-atomic particles moving incredibly fast, with a source of light in the room. We have the photons present, we have the electrons, protons, neutrons also present. On Earth, things can move incredibly fast, so wouldn't it also be 4 dimensions?
Ehm yeah.

I really don't know where this idea that you need to be travelling very fast for time to be a dimension or whatever people are trying to say came from dimensions are dimensions, they don't just fade in and out depending on your speed. You can be stationary but you'll still move through time - vertically on the Minowski diagram. At high speeds you'll move slower through time. But it's still there - still a dimension.

Never heard of P-branes, will look it up when I'm awake...
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Re: how many dimensions do we live in? - March 22nd 2009, 11:11 AM

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Ehm yeah.

I really don't know where this idea that you need to be travelling very fast for time to be a dimension or whatever people are trying to say came from dimensions are dimensions, they don't just fade in and out depending on your speed. You can be stationary but you'll still move through time - vertically on the Minowski diagram. At high speeds you'll move slower through time. But it's still there - still a dimension.

Never heard of P-branes, will look it up when I'm awake...
Well the Minkowski Diagrams have ct (time for speed of light) as I believe the y-axis if it's a basic diagram. The more complex ones have more than one axis/line for ct.
   
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Re: how many dimensions do we live in? - March 22nd 2009, 12:56 PM

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Well the Minkowski Diagrams have ct (time for speed of light) as I believe the y-axis if it's a basic diagram. The more complex ones have more than one axis/line for ct.
Ah the ones I've been looking at have travel at the speed of light exactly 45' to each axis...
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Re: how many dimensions do we live in? - March 22nd 2009, 09:44 PM

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Ah the ones I've been looking at have travel at the speed of light exactly 45' to each axis...
Those are also Minkowski Diagrams, however, those are the more complex ones. There are different diagrams for different concepts.
   
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