Q: Can a human being survive in the fourth dimension?

Physicist: Nopers.  But to understand why, it’s important to know what a dimension is.

When someone says “we live in the third dimension” what they should really say (to be overly-precise) is “the universe we inhabit has three spacial dimensions”.  There are a few ways that you can tell that you live in a three dimensional world.  The easiest is to try to come up with as many mutually-perpendicular directions as you can; you’ll find three without too much trouble, but you’ll never find a fourth.

These three directions are mutually perpendicular and and no new direction can be.

These three directions are mutually perpendicular and and no new direction can be perpendicular to all three.

If you’re feeling terribly clever, you’ll find lots of other examples that demonstrate the three (and not two or four) dimensionality of our universe.  For example, if you can tie a simple knot then you definitely live in three or more dimensions (no knots in 2-D) and if you can make a Klein bottle then you definitely live in four or more dimensions.

In 2-D you can't tie a knot without the rope passing through itself, and in 3-D you can't build a Klein bottle without essentially the same problem.

In 2-D you can’t tie a knot without the rope passing through itself, and in 3-D you can’t build a Klein bottle without the same problem.

A dimension is a direction.  Living in more dimensions means having more directions you can move in.  There are many weird physical consequences to living in more dimensions, but the one you’d notice first (if you were somehow to suddenly to appear in a 4-D universe) is immediate death.

An actual 2-D creature would collapse in 3-D, and there would be nothing to distinguish its outside form its inside.

An actual 2-D creature would collapse in 3-D.  What it considers to be its insides just looks like more surface to we 3-D folk.

If a paper doll (two-dimensional being) were suddenly brought into three dimensional space all of its innards would become outtards.  Similarly, there is nothing whatsoever supporting your body in a fourth direction, so if you were to find yourself with a few extra dimensions your insides would follow the path of least (zero) resistance and fall out.  It would be super gross, but would make no more of a mess than an infinitely thin oil slick.  Any local 4-D critters probably wouldn’t even notice.

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66 Responses to Q: Can a human being survive in the fourth dimension?

  1. rosy rodrigues says:

    The chronicle of h gb wells try explain the rotation bin fourth dimension, where during then explosions the bodies entry in rotations in the 4D due a greatest explosions, and when backward for the e arthur, the theirs órgãns changes of positive. The heart goes for right handed and then liver goes for the left handed.but how get then conjugations of left handed and right handed for switches the left handed and rightbhanded. Only possible these transformations with speeds greater than the speed of light, as background the noncommutative topological geometrirs

  2. Antônio Carlos motta says:

    We think that the really of 4 dimensional be linked by the connection of space and time into spacetime continuum.and the transformations in fourth dimensions generate the left handed and right handed systems,,for that reason the universe through the opperatorPT combine in an Absolute symmetry left and right handed,but only possible in the 4D

  3. abraham says:

    Me gustaría ver la traducción del artículo en español

  4. LarryD says:

    Er, sorry…but the real answer is, we don’t know. Also be aware that certain theorists on dimensional ‘research’ consider that Time is a as real and as physical as our spacial dimensions and it is only the ‘arrow of time’ that is apparent or a an illusion of ‘moving forward’. If Time has multiple dimensions it does not affect current physics but it may well explain certain mysteries on the quantum level. I agree that such ideas are not mainstream. Indeed, 2D is purely hypothetical since, no matter how small (such as the doll examples above) have some thickness and therefore are real very thin 3D. Compact D of SST have many dimensions and if that were proven that would make us more than 3D creatures anyway.

  5. Michael Brandon Lane says:

    some one has deleted reliable comments that would help solve the big question… i commented and some others have commented and those comments are no where to be found.

  6. Philip P says:

    @LarryD:

    Who are the “certain theorists” you site and what kind of “research” do they do?

    The 3 dimensions do not have physical reality. They are not things. 3 is the minimum number of pieces of information required to describe a location in space. You could use more if you wanted to. Time is also required if you actually care about locating something at that position, unless you know it never moves. But just because it takes 3, doesn’t mean there are three actual things called dimensions. You can place the origin and orientation of axes literally anywhere/any way in the universe and it will still work, as long as we all use the same reference points. So spatial dimensions are only logical constructs for describing the world consistently, i.e. a frame of reference. You can’t take any single physical object and tell me which directions correspond to the so called “3 dimensions”. In fact, most real world objects can’t even be described that way at all, because they are not rectangular solids — they are irregular and “fuzzy.” You would have to provide (x,y,z) coordinates of every particle in the object, preferably with the kind of particle it is and any information about force-interactions with surrounding particles. And of course you would have to tell me the point of origin and orientation of the 3D coordinate system you used for the information, since there isn’t a universal one.

  7. rov says:

    You will not be able to see 4 dimensional objects in this 3 dimension planet unless you practice deep mediation. This rare task will allow the subconscious mind glimpse these objects in a 4 dimensional space-time while your 3 dimensional physical body is in the material world.

  8. Ahana Chandra says:

    But I thought we are already living in 4 dimensions .I time we have the time flowing in earth as well! Thats a direction as well .Time always moves in one direction …..thats why its not negetive on earth!….I dont get it why are you saying….we are not living in 4 dimensions.

  9. Hyouka says:

    Imagine a hallway with an infinite series of pictures on the wall. The picture we are standing in front of is the present, the previous is the past and the next picture is the future. As we move on to the next picture(the future) this sets a new point of observation for us, so future becomes present and present now becomes past. Now imagine if we were to observe all pictures at once? Past, present and future would simply become one. I believe it’s more plausible to say time is flowing forwards, backwards and not at all consecutively. The problem is we are currently only capable of observing it flowing forwards.

  10. Chris says:

    I just watched the movie “Falkland”, based off the book, and it begins to unlock the idea of dimensions, that there are more dimensions beyond our third dimension, mathematically it’s been proven there is a fourth dimension, the tesseract /hyperactive is about as good “drawing” of it but imagining seeing it is almost impossible, but I do believe it’s more than one third dimensions coexisting together, some would say that’s where dreams, ideas, ghosts, angels things that are only glimpses that pass through this dimension.

  11. Moss says:

    I believe the same. I came to a theory that I believe might be true. Our 3d dimension was created from either the 4th or 5th dimension. I know that energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change form. So I believe that some how there was a rip through space and time causing massive amounts of pure 4th or 5th dimensional energy flooding into our 3d universe causing the Big Bang. Because of the Big Bang, the reason is because I believe that the other dimensions that I have mentioned are a dimension of pure energy. Like I said, energy cannot be created nor destroyed, it can only change form. So when it happened the energy changed form into atoms and such, which make up everything in our known universe.

  12. pranav kulkarni says:

    yes i am realy impresed about above discussion
    thanks a lot for clear my concept about 4th dimension
    thanks to all

  13. Jono McMaster says:

    Time is just a human tool of measurement .
    Everything is moving in the collective continuum . The centre of your universe is you the individual .

  14. vinaykumar.L says:

    To find matter three dimensions are sufficient. If 4th dimension exists, the living organizam have matter. As per mysterious videos that have seen i am concluding that the living things in 4th dimension are surrounding us but we are unable to see him with our naked eye. My question is that they have death or not. If so where the souls went. In hindu mythology VASHISTA went to heaven so many times for discussions but with soul only. he come back to the third dimension and enter in to his body.
    still i am confusing.

  15. Mark Blanch says:

    Imaging the 4th dimension.
    1 dimension has no definable amount of Width.
    2 dimension has no definable amount of Width or Depth.
    3 dimension has no definable amount of Width, Depth or Height.
    (that is to say a point has no WDH only a placement, an object needs a range of WDH).
    All objects are moving relatively and this takes time (4th dimension).
    We all know that objects have more properties than WDH and time and that they are changing, Hence their are other dimensions we only know a little about and probably more we know nothing about.

  16. Alex Dennis says:

    TL;DR
    If we don’t live in the fourth dimension which I presume in its silmplest form (blame wikipedia if I’m wrong) means time. if we don’t live in the 4th dimension how can I grow old (how does the matter of which my body is made of age and die), how can I see things around me change, how do we even have a construct or idea of what time may or may not be (the seconds, minutes and hours we see go by on a clock for example)?

    I know my questions may only be philosophical at best but they may even have some meaning in physics as well, but those questions still mean something and hey it took me some “time” to write this comment.

    My point or question rather is how can we have time in a social view but not in a physical view?

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