Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Visualizing a Fourth Dimension

I've intended to post these amazing links for some time now: Seeing in four dimensions by Julie Rehmeyer in Science News describes a new series of videos to help people visualize complex mathematical concepts. This is the trailer:

The trailer shows some snippets from the Nine chapters, two hours of maths, that take you gradually up to the fourth dimension. Mathematical vertigo guaranteed! offered on Dimensions: A Walk Through Mathematics. I won't pretend to explain the fourth dimension as a mathematical concept, but there is text that accompanies the nine "chapters" of the film. I don't know if repeated viewings will allow me to absorb the ideas, but it's so engaging visually that I almost don't care. When Hutchinson described an ecological niche as "a multidimensional hyperspace," I wonder if he had any concept of what even one "extra" dimension would "look like."

Here are the credits for Dimensions: A Walk Through Mathematics: This film is the result of the collaboration of three enthusiasts who worked together on all aspects of the project: Jos Leys, engineer turned computer graphics enthusiast, specializing in mathematical imagery (Antwerp, Belgium); √Čtienne Ghys, CNRS senior researcher, working at the ENS-Lyon, mathematics and the scenario; and Aur√©lien Alvarez, ENS-Lyon graduate student, technical aspects, and computation of images.

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