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Sixty Symbols Looks at Two-Dimensional Universes

by Kenny Hoeschen

In this fascinating video, the guys as Sixty Symbols take a look at what a two-dimensional universe would look like and how creatures in a two-dimensional universe might evolve. Beginning with two famous books that looked at how a two-dimensional world might operate, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott and The Planiverse by A. K. Dewdney, Professor Michael Merrifield of the University of Nottingham shares some of the thought experiments related to such a world.

It’s difficult to conceive of what a two-dimensional creature’s world would look like. But scientists have thought through the physics of a universe with only two dimensionsand described what problems would exist that don’t occur in a three-dimensional world. For example, the being’s digestive system would split it in two; and gravity doesn’t work the same and, therefore, space travel would be nearly impossible, and brain cells couldn’t interconnect in complex ways.

Professor Merrifield then considers how beings from a four-dimensional universe might look upon us and be amused at our primitive ways. Perhaps he’s heard of Ignignokt and Err, who laughed at our “three dimensions.”

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