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Monday, July 26, 2010

Additional Excerpt from the Wikipedia article on Dimensions

Time

A temporal dimension is a dimension of time. Time is often referred to as the "fourth dimension" for this reason, but that is not to imply that it is a spatial dimension. A temporal dimension is one way to measure physical change. It is perceived differently from the three spatial dimensions in that there is only one of it, and that we cannot move freely in time but subjectively move in one direction.

The equations used in physics to model reality do not treat time in the same way that humans commonly perceive it. The equations of classical mechanics are symmetric with respect to time, and equations of quantum mechanics are typically symmetric if both time and other quantities (such as charge and parity) are reversed. In these models, the perception of time flowing in one direction is an artifact of the laws of thermodynamics (we perceive time as flowing in the direction of increasing entropy).

The best-known treatment of time as a dimension is Poincaré and Einstein's special relativity (and extended to general relativity), which treats perceived space and time as components of a four-dimensional manifold, known as spacetime, and in the special, flat case as Minkowski space.
[edit] Additional dimensions

Theories such as string theory and M-theory predict that physical space in general has in fact 10 and 11 dimensions, respectively. The extra dimensions are spatial. We perceive only three spatial dimensions, and no physical experiments have confirmed the reality of additional dimensions. A possible explanation that has been suggested is that space acts as if it were "curled up" in the extra dimensions on a subatomic scale, possibly at the quark/string level of scale or below.

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