Date: Fri, 05 Apr 2002
Dear Mr. Wonderful,
How does one explain what a hypercube or hypersphere (or any other 4-space object) looks like to a 14-year-old?
Dear Non-Euclidean Pottery,
How should I know what a hypercube looks like to a 14-year-old? Damned restraining order.
Oh, wait! You want to know how I would explain, to a 14-year-old, what a four-dimensional solid looks like. Well, that's an interesting problem. There's this restraining order, you see...
No, no! That's a joke, of course. I can talk to 14-year-olds. I own a bullhorn.
Listen, the very real difficulty here is your premise that young people would need an explanation different from the one I would give to, say, fellow scientists, visiting grandparents, a side-show barker, or wombats, provided they were quick learners: I say, "Here - take this Escher print, these goggles, these two mescaline fruit roll-ups, Doctor Who and the Robots of Death, a dedicated acrobat, and this Coil album. When the White Knight starts gleaming, you'll know how to square the cube."
Between you and me, four-dimensional objects look like everything else in our world, since the objects we see from moment to moment are just three-dimensional cross-sections of 4-D eterni-form timesnakes. But try telling that to a judge.