I initially posted this as a series of Instagram stories, which people found surprisingly entertaining given the nerdiness of the subject matter. I think maybe my total lack of expertise made it more fun and easier to understand. So, a disclaimer: this exercise is for fun and brain-stretching only. Don’t take it as hard science, and please forgive any technical inaccuracies.
When we talk about a dimension, what we are really talking about is a degree of freedom, or an axis.
A point has no dimensions. It exists at one, fixed spacetime coordinate and has no variable or degree-of-freedom.
The first dimension can be represented as a line. A line has one degree of freedom.
The second dimension can be represented by a plane. It has two axes (X,Y). Any position on a plane can be defined with two measurements.
The third dimension (you know this one!) can be defined by a cube. A cube has 3 degrees of freedom (X,Y,Z), has volume, and is, basically, space as we experience it.
Typically, we talk about the fourth dimension as time (at least we experience it as time). If we think about space as being three dimensional, but existing through time, then we can identify any point in spacetime with 4 axes (X,Y,Z,T). Let’s look at a few ways to “visualize” time.
Easy 4D Visualizations Explained
Imagine a 2d being trying to experience the third dimension. The only way a 2d being could experience a cube would be to pass through it, one 2D slice at a time.
However we, as 3D beings can experience the whole cube at once. So if we use time to represent the fourth dimension, we can say that we (as 3D beings)…