Cover image for Surfing through hyperspace : understanding higher universes in six easy lessons
Surfing through hyperspace : understanding higher universes in six easy lessons
Pickover, Clifford A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xxiv, 239 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library QB981 .P625 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Do a little armchair time-travel, rub elbows with a four-dimensional intelligent life form, or stretch your mind to the furthest corner of an uncharted universe. With this astonishing guidebook, Surfing Through Hyperspace, you need not be a mathematician or an astrophysicist to explore theall-but-unfathomable concepts of hyperspace and higher-dimensional geometry. No subject in mathematics has intrigued both children and adults as much as the idea of a fourth dimension. Philosophers and parapsychologists have meditated on this mysterious space that no one can point to but may be all around us. Yet this extra dimension has a very real, practical value tomathematicians and physicists who use it every day in their calculations. In the tradtion of Flatland, and with an infectious enthusiasm, Clifford Pickover tackles the problems inherent in our 3-D brains trying to visualize a 4-D world, muses on the religious implications of the existence ofhigher-dimensional consciousness, and urges all curious readers to venture into "the unexplored territory lying beyond the prison of the obvious." Pickover alternates sections that explain the science of hyperspace with sections that dramatize mind-expanding concepts through a fictional dialoguebetween two futuristic FBI agents who dabble in the fourth dimension as a matter of national security. This highly accessible and entertaining approach turns an intimidating subject into a scientific game open to all dreamers. Surfing Through Hyperspace concludes with a number of puzzles, computer experiments and formulas for further exploration, inviting readers to extend their minds across this inexhaustibly intriguing scientific terrain.

Author Notes

Clifford A. Pickover is a Research Staff Member at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, and is the author of many books, including Strange Brains and Genius and Time: A Traveler's Guide, (OUP). He lives in Yorktown Heights, New York.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hyperbeings have kidnapped the president! Prolific Discover magazine columnist Pickover (Time: A Traveler's Guide, etc.) alternates expositions of math, physics and geometry with episodes of instructional science fiction while showing interested amateurs the mathematical and physical properties of higher spatial dimensions. Familiar analogies from Edwin Abbott's classic Flatland link up with odder ones from Baha'i and Christian scripture, The X-Files and the superstring theories of modern cosmologists, as Pickover explains how to trap a 4-D organism or why one twirl through a fourth dimension could turn you into your mirror image. Pickover's usual whimsy is in full force here, as he focuses on what four-dimensional organisms could (or do) look like to us: 4-D lifeforms, he explains, could make any 3-D object vanish (or reappear) by lifting it out of (or dropping it back into) our 3-D space. And 4-D creatures with anatomies analogous to ours would probably look, from our limited perspective, like sets of floating, unconnected flesh blobs. In the book's science fictional sections, "you" (a Mulder-esque FBI agent) team up with a skeptic named Sally to investigate mysterious hyperbeings. These second-person adventures seem aimed at young readers, though they don't get in the way of the more sophisticated ideas. Several substantial appendices describe puzzles and games related to hyperspace, while others explain related topics (like the mathematical entities called quaternions) or suggest further reading. Line drawings throughout. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments and Dis-p. vii
Prefacep. xi
Introductionp. xxi
Surfing Through Hyperspacep. 1
1 Degrees of Freedomp. 2
2 The Divinity of Higher Dimensionsp. 22
3 Satan and Perpendicular Worldsp. 52
4 Hyperspheres and Tesseractsp. 80
5 Mirror Worldsp. 118
6 The Gods of Hyperspacep. 140
Concludingp. 162
Appendix A Mind-Bending Four-Dimensional Puzzlesp. 169
Appendix B Higher Dimensions in Science Fictionp. 175
Appendix C Banchoff Klein Bottlep. 185
Appendix D Quaternionsp. 188
Appendix E Four-Dimensional Mazesp. 190
Appendix F Smorgasbord for Computer Junkiesp. 192
Appendix G Evolution of Four-Dimensional Beingsp. 196
Appendix H Challenging Questions for Further Thoughtp. 199
Appendix I Hyperspace Titlesp. 212
Notesp. 217
Further Readingsp. 230
About the Authorp. 233
Addendump. 235
Indexp. 237

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