Perception

What are the three dimensions?
Answered by Science Channel
  • Science Channel

    Science Channel

  1. When you hear someone talk about 3-D, they're talking about length, width and depth. We live in a 3-D world, where it only takes three numbers to identify a person's location at any given time: longitude, latitude and altitude/depth. These dimensions allow us to move in any direction that we wish.

    If we lived in a one-dimensional world, we would only have one location to pinpoint: length. For example, say you have a bead on a single strand of string. You can move the bead backward and forward along the string, but not side to side or up and down. You can only define where it is by a measurement of length. Now say that same bead is lying on a piece of paper. You can slide it to any given point, where you can define where it is by both length and width, as if it were on a grid. Entering the third dimension adds in depth. Inside a box, that bead can move in any direction: up, down, left, right, etc. Living in a 3-D world gives us freedom to move around.

    With today's advanced technology, we are able to create 3-D experiences in movies, video games and more, making it seem as if we are really part of the experience. For example, a 3-D movie enhances the typical 2-D movie experience with the illusion of depth. A 3-D video game allows you to move through a game world that, like our own, has length, width and depth.

    Are there more than three dimensions? Some mathematicians theorize that there may be as many as 10 -- but no one's quite sure how to reach them [source: Groleau].

    More answers from Science Channel »



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