Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tesseracts



I was thinking about tesseracts, and the idea that something that is small on the outside can be very big on the inside.  My memory may be faulty on this, but I recall an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise where they found a small starship and brought it inside the Enterprise for study.  When they climbed inside, the ship was bigger on the inside than on the outside.

Sadly, a visit to the Star Trek database found no such episode, but I did spot a clever reference to Coxeter's book on polytopes.  Which I only knew about from a reference about hypercubes on this math site.

But the point remains that some things are bigger on the inside than the outside.  For instance, a book.  Physically, a book may be a small thing you can hold in one hand, but inside there may be entire worlds and cultures and dozens of interesting characters and a massive sweep of history.

Or a computer.  Its hard drive may hold every album/cd/song you've ever bought.  And all your pictures.  And whatever you've written or composed.  USB/thumb drives/memory sticks take this to the extreme. 

This does not, however, make these things any less valuable.  Like Yoda said, "Size matters not."

(please note the image is from wikipedia.)

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