Pickover Surfs Hyperspace
Meta 134. 1999/08/24. Approximately 849 words.
Below is an announcement about Clifford Pickover’s latest book entitledSURFING THROUGH HYPERSPACE UNDERSTANDING HIGHER UNIVERSES IN SIX EASYLESSONS. The book is on the spirituality of higher dimensions, such as thefourth dimension. Among other things, he discusses the possibility of Godhovering in the fourth dimension, only inches away from us.
You will recall that the hyper-kinetic Pickover was a guest on Meta thispast spring in an extended thread entitled “The Loom of God” which dealtwith mathematics and mysticism. Pickover is a research scientist at theIBM Watson Research Center, Yorktown Hts, NY. A visit to his webpage is anopportunity to hallucinate on fractals and colorful two dimensionalrenderings of hypothetical four dimensional beings<http://www.pickover.com>. The thread with Pickover on Meta can be read at<http://www.meta-list.org>.
— Billy Grassie
SURFING THROUGH HYPERSPACE UNDERSTANDING HIGHER UNIVERSES IN SIX EASYLESSONS (Oxford University Press, Fall 1999)
Table of Contents
IntroductionChapter 1. Degrees of FreedomChapter 2. The Divinity of Higher DimensionsChapter 3. Satan and Perpendicular WorldsChapter 4. Hyperspheres and TesseractsChapter 5. Mirror WorldsChapter 6. The Gods of HyperspaceConcluding RemarksAppendix I. Mind-Bending Four-Dimensional PuzzlesAppendix II. Higher Dimensions in Science FictionAppendix III. Banchoff Klein BottleAppendix IV. QuaternionsAppendix V. Four-Dimensional MazesAppendix VI. Smorgasbord for Computer JunkiesAppendix VII. Evolution of Four-Dimensional BeingsAppendix VIII. Questions for Further ThoughtAppendix IX. Hyperspace Titles
I know of no subject in mathematics that has intrigued both children andadults as much as the idea of a fourth dimension — a spatial directiondifferent from all the directions of our normal three-dimensional space.Philosophers and parapsychologists have meditated upon this dimension thatno one can point to but may be all around us. Theologians have speculatedthat the afterlife, heaven, hell, angels, and our souls could reside in afourth dimension — that God and Satan could literally be lumps ofhypermatter in a four- dimensional space inches away from our ordinarythree-dimensional world. Throughout time, various mystics and prophets havelikened our world to a three-dimensional cage and have speculated on howgreat our perceptions would be if we could break from the confines of ourworld into higher dimensions. Yet, despite all the philosophical andspiritual implications of the fourth dimension, this extra dimension alsohas a very practical side. Mathematicians and physicists use the fourthdimension every day in calculations. It’s part of important theories thatdescribe the very fabric of our universe.
“I can’t imagine anybody whose mind won’t be stretched by this book — butI only hope it isn’t responsible for an outbreak of mysterious disappearances.”
– ARTHUR C. CLARKE
“Pickover just seems to exist in more dimensions than the rest of us.”
– Ian Stewart, Mathematics Awareness Center, University of Warwick
“Cliff Pickover’s new book is a perfect reflection of its author’simagination, an imagination so vast it MUST be hyperspacial itself! Threedimensions are simply not sufficient to explain Pickover’s astoundingbreadth of knowledge on such arcane matters as spacetime wormholes, randomwalks, and the enormous science fiction literature dealing with the higherdimensions. The book is not loaded with mathematics (that’s a plus!), buteven the purest of mathematicians will find the ideas in it deep, andPickover’s discussions of them stimulating.”
– Professor Paul J. Nahin, author of Time Machines
“Whimsical, delightful, and always fun, Surfing through Hyperspace willtickle the imagination and boggle the mind. Hyperspace is where physics,mathematics, and science fiction collide. Pickover is our mischievous tourguide for the bizarre realm of higher dimensions, where common sensebecomes obsolete. Surfing through Hyperspace teases us to imagine theunimaginable.”
– Dr. Michio Kaku, author of Hyperspace
“There is no more difficult topic for the human mind to grasp than spatialdimensions beyond three. In this book, Clifford Pickover weaves a sciencefiction tale with embedded mathematical analysis that explains the fourthdimension in a unique and amusing way. The approach works well in a mannerreminiscent of the classic work, Flatland, by Edwin Abbott.”
– Charles Ashbacher, Editor, Journal of Recreational Mathematics
Prolific Discover magazine columnist Pickover (Time: A Traveler’s Guide)alternates expositions of math, physics and geometry with episodes ofinstructional science fiction while showing interested amateurs themathematical and physical properties of higher spatial dimensions.
Familiar analogies from Edwin Abbott’s classic Flatland link up with odderones from Baha’i and Christian scriptures, The X-Files, and the superstringtheories of modern cosmologists, as Pickover explains how to trap a 4-Dorganism or why one twirl through a fourth dimension could turn you intoyour mirror image. Pickover’s usual whimsy is in full force here as hefocuses 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-Dcreatures with anatomies analogous to ours would probably look, from ourlimited perspective, like sets of floating, unconnected flesh blobs.
– Publisher’s Weekly, August 1999
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