Fractals & Chaos Assignment for 10/31

For some more interesting Tales From the Fourth Dimension, check out the following:

  • The Adventures of Fred, Bob, and Emily – a detailed look at how the lives of a 2D (Fred), 3D (Bob), and 4D (Emily) creature interact with each other. See especially the “World” section, where the author, Garrett Jones, imagines how wheels, water, and war would work in these universes.
  • And He Built a Crooked House – a short story by “Big Three” science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein about an eccentric architect who designs a house in the shape of an unfolded hypercube. An earthquake hits, and the house folds back up on itself to concerning results (see also this student film version of the story)
  • Some Notes on the Fourth Dimension – some animations and movies showing the geometry of the fourth dimension, including some of those featured in the Flatland dvd bonus features.
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Fractals & Chaos Assignment for 10/30

For some more interesting Tales From the Fourth Dimension, check out the following:

  • The Adventures of Fred, Bob, and Emily – a detailed look at how the lives of a 2D (Fred), 3D (Bob), and 4D (Emily) creature interact with each other. See especially the “World” section, where the author, Garrett Jones, imagines how wheels, water, and war would work in these universes.
  • And He Built a Crooked House – a short story by “Big Three” science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein about an eccentric architect who designs a house in the shape of an unfolded hypercube. An earthquake hits, and the house folds back up on itself to concerning results (see also this student film version of the story)
  • Some Notes on the Fourth Dimension – some animations and movies showing the geometry of the fourth dimension, including some of those featured in the Flatland dvd bonus features.

Fractals & Chaos Assignment for 10/26

The last topic of the first section of the course is to further expand our notion of dimension, but in a different direction: Can there be dimensions in excess of 3?

As we are 3-dimensional creatures, it is challenging for us to conceptualize what a 4-dimension world would be like. It is best understood by analogy: by considering how a 2-dimensional creature would experience the 3-dimensional world. Fortunately, much of this heavy lifting has already been done for us!

In 1884, Edwin Abbott Abbott published Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. It is told from the perspective of A. Square, a denizen of the titular 2-dimensional world, and starts off explaining aspects of their universe in great detail. The second part describes his first encounter with the 3-dimensional Spaceland, and the changes to his world-view as a result.

Abbott wrote the book partly as an exercise in geometry, but also partly as a satire on the regimented Victorian-era social hierarchy. As a result, there are some rather uncomfortable characterizations of women as lower-class citizens, among other shocking commentary.

You can read the full book here (I have paper copies if you’d prefer that), but for Monday please at least read this excerpt.