Sounds broad, right? Let's start with the three dimensions most people learn in grade school. The spatial dimensions—width, height, and depth—are the easiest to visualize. A horizontal line exists in one dimension because it only has length; a square is two-dimensional because it has length and width.
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Add depth and we get a cube, or a three-dimensional shape. These three coordinates are used to pinpoint an object's location in space. Once we know a dot's altitude, longitude, latitude, and position in time, we have the tools needed to plot its existence in the universe as we know it.
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String theory, also known as "superstring theory," aims to unify two main theories describing how the universe works: general relativity which applies to very large objects and quantum mechanics which applies to very small ones. After coming up with a theory that hinges on the existence of 10 space dimensions, string theorists then had the job of explaining where those new dimensions were hiding. Their answer: They are just as real as the "big" dimensions we can see, but the extra dimensions are curled up so tightly that they're too small for us to notice directly.
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Our basic understanding of physics makes this hard to process, but string theorist Brian Greene does a great job of framing the concept in terms most people can understand. In his TED Talk , Greene compares these invisible dimensions to the cables connected to telephone poles: From a window, a wire looks like a one-dimensional line.
But if we were to study it up close we'd see that the cord is actually round, making it three-dimensional.
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No analogy comparing unobservable dimensions to objects in the observable world can ever be perfect, but this illustrates how something so fundamental to reality could be hiding in plain sight. String theory states there must be at least 10 dimensions of space plus one dimension for time, but there are physicists who argue that there are more. Some posit a universe composed of 11 space dimensions. But to really blow someone's mind when they ask how many dimensions there are, say That's the magic number according to Bosonic string theory , and it's as high as mainstream physicists are willing to go for the time being.
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If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions mentalfloss. While your eyelashes are protecting your eyes, your lungs are letting you breathe, and virtually every other part of your body—inside and out—is performing its own relatively well-known task, your belly button is just sitting there collecting lint.
That way, the placenta could channel nutrients and oxygen to you through the cord, and you could send back waste. Your umbilical cord was cut when you were born, creating a tiny bulge that left behind some scar tissue after it healed.
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That scar tissue is your belly button, navel, or umbilicus. Less skin makes an innie; more skin makes an outie. Another way of classifying that area is into nine regions—including the hypochondriac, lumbar, iliac, epigastric, and hypogastric regions—with the umbilical region at the very center. Your belly button can also serve as the opening for laparoscopic surgery, which can save you from having a scar elsewhere on your abdomen.
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It really was the perfect way to say goodbye to Fort Punta Christo; our home for the last eight years. To all the artists who soundtracked the weekend, to the staff, crew, sound-systems and volunteers who make Dimensions what is is, and to you — the dancers — a massive thank you from us all.
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