Über dieses Produkt
- KurzbeschreibungA deft mixture of social satire and science fiction that continues to pose provocative questions about perception and reality"Imagine a vast sheet of paper on which Lines, Triangles, Squares, Pentagons, Hexagons, and other figures, instead of remaining fixed in their places, move freely about, on or in the surface, but without the power of rising above or sinking below it...and you will have a pretty correct notion of my country and countrymen". So begins Edwin Abbott's delightful fable of Flatland -- a world that quite literally lacks depth.All existence is limited to length and breadth in Flatland, its inhabitants unable even to imagine a third dimension. Abbott's amiable narrator, A Square, provides an overview of this fantastic world -- its physics and metaphysics, its history, customs, and religious beliefs. But when a strange visitor mysteriously appears and transports the incredulous Flatlander to the Land of Three Dimensions, his worldview is forever shattered.Written more than a century ago, Flatland conceals within its brilliant parody of Victorian society speculations about the universe that resonate in Einstein's theory of relativity as well as the current "string-theory" of nature. "If", as Alan Lightman writes in his Introduction, "the very dimensionality of space is open to question, then what beliefs remain sacred?"
- AutorEdwin A. Abbott
- SeriePenguin Classics
- VerlagPenguin Books Ltd
- Seiten118 Seiten
- Gewicht120 g
A Romance of Many Dimensions
BY A. SQUARE
(EDWIN A. ABBOTT)
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY THE AUTHOR
AN INTRODUCTION BY ALAN LIGHTMAN
In the summer of 1973, I went on a camping trip in Sequoia National Park. I was a graduate student in physics at the time, and my two companions were also physicists. Carved out of granite by retreating glaciers, Sequoia National Park lies in the southern end of the great Sierra Nevada mountain range of California and is most famous for its giant sequoia trees, which attain heights of several hundred feet and ages of two thousand years. In Sequoia, one's senses are overwhelmed. The land tilts and swerves from the ancient shifting of subterranean faults, snow-covered mountains jut into space, shady forests suddenly give way to bright meadows.
During this barrage of sensation, in which it seemed to me that every cubic inch of the world was filled to its maximum capacity, one of my fellow campers, John Schwarz, was at work formulating a new theory of nature-a theory that required seven additional dimensions beyond the usual three. Schwarz's pioneering calculations, called "string theory" and later extended by other theoretical physicists, are now regarded as the best attempt to develop a quantum theory of gravity and to unify all the forces of nature. For technical reasons, such a theory demands more than length, width, and breadth. Fortunately, the extra dimensions are curled up in such tiny circles that they cannot be experienced by macroscopic creatures who are already strained by a mere three.
Almost a century before that excursion into the sequoias of California, in 1884, there quietly appeared in England a little book titled Flatland, which invited its readers to consider the outrageous possibility of four dimensions and more. Flatland slyly accomplished this suggestion by portraying the highly limited life of a world of only two dimensions, whose inhabitants cannot imagine, and do not want to imagine, a third dimension. In Flatland, all existence and experience is confined to a plane. Nothing has thickness. People come in the shape of triangles, squares, pentagons, and so on, the greater the number of sides, the higher the status. Since all geometrical shapes appear as straight lines when viewed edge on-and edge on is the only possibility in Flatland-inhabitants must feel each other's angles for proper recognition. Interiors of closed figures are invisible. Rain slides across the world plane from the north; consequently each house is oriented so that its "roof" side faces that direction
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