# Dimension (mathematics and Physics)

Dimension (mathematics And Physics)

In physics and mathematics, the dimension of a space or object is informally defined as the minimum number of coordinates needed to specify any point within it. Thus a line has a dimension of one because only one coordinate is needed to specify a point on it (for example, the point at 5 on a number line). A surface such as a plane or the surface of a cylinder or sphere has a dimension of two because two coordinates are needed to specify a point on it (for example, to locate a point on the surface of a sphere you need both its latitude and its longitude). The inside of a cube, a cylinder or a sphere is three-dimensional because three co-ordinates are needed to locate a point within these spaces.

In physical terms, dimension refers to the constituent structure of all space (cf. volume) and its position in time (perceived as a scalar dimension along the t-axis), as well as the spatial constitution of objects withinâ€”structures that correlate with both particle and field conceptions, interact according to relative properties of massâ€”and are fundamentally mathematical in description. These, or other axes, may be referenced to uniquely identify a point or structure in its attitude and relationship to other objects and occurrences. Physical theories that incorporate time, such as general relativity, are said to work in 4-dimensional "spacetime", (defined as a Minkowski space). Modern theories tend to be "higher-dimensional" including quantum field and string theories. The state-space of quantum mechanics is an infinite-dimensional function space.

The concept of dimension is not restricted to physical objects. High-dimensional spaces occur in mathematics and the sciences for many reasons, frequently as configuration spaces such as in Lagrangian or Hamiltonian mechanics; these are abstract spaces, independent of the physical space we live in.

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### Famous quotes containing the word dimension:

Le Corbusier was the sort of relentlessly rational intellectual that only France loves wholeheartedly, the logician who flies higher and higher in ever-decreasing circles until, with one last, utterly inevitable induction, he disappears up his own fundamental aperture and emerges in the fourth dimension as a needle-thin umber bird.
Tom Wolfe (b. 1931)