Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Actually it was Gauss who proposed how to describe the inhabitants on a sphere as if they were unaware of the third dimension. Of course, they would need only two coordinates, why it’s called a 2-sphere. Here’s an example with spherical coordinates φ and θ:
But it was Riemann, Gauss’ student, who extended this idea to higher dimensions, hence why it’s generally known as Riemannian geometry. Notice that we have a 2-sphere embedded into 3D. So if we take our 3-dimensional world then Riemannian geometry tells us that it is embedded into a 4 spatial dimensional world. In General Relativity (GR), time is considered as another coordinate. So for the Big Bang Theory, which is based on GR, we must assume that it's a theory of a universe with 4 coordinates,(3+1), but embedded into 4 spatial dimensions + one temporal dimension.
Notice that if our inhabitants on a 2-D sphere were to observe that their New York City is moving away from their Paris, they would conclude that their universe is expanding. We, the 3-D creatures observing them, would know that someone/something is blowing air or matter into the inside of their sphere, causing their world to act in that way. But what about our 3-D spatial world, which is really treated as a Riemannian 4-D spatial world, what's causing it to being blown away? The question is: is the BBT really the final word on this? Does the fourth spatial Riemannian dimension really exist? Or is it just a fabrication that makes the calculations in the BBT simpler, but as a consequence, it is in fact misleading us? Stay tuned.