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We all consider dimensions in general terms such as another reality or how we perceive the environment around us. However this is only a fraction of what dimensions really are. First off what we understand about dimensions in best described by physics.
Physicists theorize that dimensions are simply different facets of the perception of the universe. For example the first four dimensions involve length, width, depth, and time. However according to quantum physics there are even more dimensions that describe the nature of the universe and probably all universes. In all many scientists believe that there are currently around 10 dimensions.
The first dimension as mentioned before is length. A good description of a one dimensional object is a straight line. This line only has the dimension of length. The second dimension is width. This dimension also by include length so a good description of a second dimensional object would be an impossibly thin plane. Things in the second dimension can only viewed as cross sections.
The third dimension involves depth and this is the one that we are most familiar with. Combined with length and width this is the most visible part of the universe in terms of dimension. The best shape to describe this dimension would be a cube. When length, width, depth intersect that is when the third dimension exists.
Now things get tricky because the other 7 dimensions deal with intangible concepts we can’t directly observed but know exist. The fourth dimension is time. This difference between how you were in the past, how you are in the present and how you will be in the future. So a timeline would be the best description of the Fourth dimension.
The other dimensions have to deal with possibilities. The fifth and sixth dimensions have to deal with the future. According to quantum physics there can be any number of possible futures, but the reason why only one outcome exists is the act of choice. The fifth and sixth dimensions deal with the branching of each of these possiblities. In essence if you could master each the fifth and sixth dimension you could travel back in time or go to different futures.
The dimensions 7 through 10 deal with universes. It basically states that there are several universes that each have their own progressions of dimensional reality and possible outcomes. The tenth and final dimension is actually the some of all universes and all their possible outcomes.
The importance of the ten dimensions is to help scientist begin to theorized the concept of a unified theory that can thoroughly explain all physical phenomena.
If you enjoyed this article there are many others on Universe Today that you will enjoy. There is a great article about Planck’s constant which is the basis of quantum physics. There is another great article on parallel universes.
There are also some great resources online. There is a great video that explains the ten dimensions in detail. You can also look at the PBS web site for the TV show Elegant universe. It has a great page on the ten dimensions.
You can also listen to Astronomy Cast. You might find episode 137 The Large Scale Structure of the Universe pretty interesting.