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Interdimentional or Extradimentional?

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

I know this only affects those authors who write 'far out' science-fiction, but I stumbled over this term and was confused by it. They seem to be treated as synonyms most of the time (according to Wiki, at least), but judging by the roots, "interdimensional' would imply they're any being which either belongs to or comes from the current dimension we all share. To further complicate things, "interdimensional" is the much more commonly used term.

It took a little research, as there aren't many sites which differentiate between the two terms, but it turns out that 'interdimensional' means beings who exist between dimensions (i.e. those who live or are from the spaces between different physical dimensions), while 'extradimensional' refers to beings who are from outside the normal laws of our physical universe (i.e. they're more 'magical' beings than it's a location designation).

That presents a conflict in using either term, but for most uses, you'd want to use "extradimensional", as the dimension they're from violates the known laws of our current dimension.

Betcha there aren't many sci-fi nerds nerdy enough to have know that piece of trivia.

Note: Sorry, I meant to post this to the Author's Forum, rather than the Story Discussion Forum, since that's who'd benefit the most from the information. :(

Remus2
Updated:

Inter = between as in transversing between extradimensional planes.

Extra = other as in other planes of existence.

Quantum = alternate dimensions existing outside of Einsteins universe but still tied to it through quantum connections.

That's my understanding of it.

PS
There can also be intra as well.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

To argue by analogy, consider the meanings of intergalactic and extragalactic.

AJ

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Remus2


Quantum = alternate dimensions existing outside of Einsteins universe but still tied to it through quantum connections.


Except 'Quantum' is a scale measurement (i.e. dealing with sub-atomic dimensions), and has nothing to do (directly at least) with connecting things.

Where 'quantum' comes into play with distant objects is with 'Quantum Links', where sub-atomic particles react instantly (though limited by the speed of light) across vast distances, but would be next to worthless since you'd first need to get the various individual quantum components into another dimension in order for it to have any effect, and if the rules of physics don't operate identically in other dimensions as they do here, there's no guarantee they'd even function. Plus, since quantum links are limited, like everything, to the speed of light, and light cannot pass between dimensions, that by definition means it would have no extra-dimensional travel benefits.

Now, there is some theoretical suppositions for extradimensional travel which have been labeled quantum travel, but they're NOT based on quantum theory (they're actually based entirely on string theory, which isn't even remotely similar), but are instead based exclusively on how those individual subatomic particles function within our dimensional space. :(

You can tell I spend way too much time researching this nonsense, as it forms the entire basis of the Not-Quite Human trilogy, as well as a few other of my stories.

@awnlee jawking

To argue by analogy, consider the meanings of intergalactic and extragalactic.


Excellent point, as 'intergalactic' is when you travel from one galaxy to another (something almost beyond comprehension, even for science fiction because the distances are so fantastical), while extragalactic would be traveling 'beyond' galaxies (I guess that means beyond space itself, which doesn't really make any sense). Though, it's conceivable you could use intergalactic and extragalactic as synonyms (even though the prefixes are literal opposites), where both would mean you're traveling 'beyond' your current galaxy. But that's a fairly non-specific term, so from my 'hard-science' background, it runs counter to my tendency to be overly precise. :(

Remus2
Updated:

I'm fully aware of what quantum is. I would advise some further research in that regards.

https://www.universetoday.com/48619/a-universe-of-10-dimensions/


A universe of 10 dimensions

December 11, 2014 by Matt Williams, Universe Today

A universe of 10 dimensions

Superstring theory posits that the universe exists in 10 dimensions at once. Credit: National Institute of Technology Tiruchirappalli.

When someone mentions "different dimensions," we tend to think of things like parallel universes – alternate realities that exist parallel to our own, but where things work or happened differently. However, the reality of dimensions and how they play a role in the ordering of our Universe is really quite different from this popular characterization.

To break it down, dimensions are simply the different facets of what we perceive to be reality. We are immediately aware of the three dimensions that surround us on a daily basis – those that define the length, width, and depth of all objects in our universes (the x, y, and z axes, respectively).

Beyond these three visible dimensions, scientists believe that there may be many more. In fact, the theoretical framework of Superstring Theory posits that the universe exists in ten different dimensions. These different aspects are what govern the universe, the fundamental forces of nature, and all the elementary particles contained within.

The first dimension, as already noted, is that which gives it length (aka. the x-axis). A good description of a one-dimensional object is a straight line, which exists only in terms of length and has no other discernible qualities. Add to it a second dimension, the y-axis (or height), and you get an object that becomes a 2-dimensional shape (like a square).

The third dimension involves depth (the z-axis), and gives all objects a sense of area and a cross-section. The perfect example of this is a cube, which exists in three dimensions and has a length, width, depth, and hence volume. Beyond these three lie the seven dimensions which are not immediately apparent to us, but which can be still be perceived as having a direct effect on the universe and reality as we know it.

Scientists believe that the fourth dimension is time, which governs the properties of all known matter at any given point. Along with the three other dimensions, knowing an objects position in time is essential to plotting its position in the universe. The other dimensions are where the deeper possibilities come into play, and explaining their interaction with the others is where things get particularly tricky for physicists.

A universe of 10 dimensions

The timeline of the universe, beginning with the Big Bang. According to String Theory, this is just one of many possible worlds. Credit: NASA

According to Superstring Theory, the fifth and sixth dimensions are where the notion of possible worlds arises. If we could see on through to the fifth dimension, we would see a world slightly different from our own that would give us a means of measuring the similarity and differences between our world and other possible ones.

In the sixth, we would see a plane of possible worlds, where we could compare and position all the possible universes that start with the same initial conditions as this one (i.e. the Big Bang). In theory, if you could master the fifth and sixth dimension, you could travel back in time or go to different futures.

In the seventh dimension, you have access to the possible worlds that start with different initial conditions. Whereas in the fifth and sixth, the initial conditions were the same and subsequent actions were different, here, everything is different from the very beginning of time. The eighth dimension again gives us a plane of such possible universe histories, each of which begins with different initial conditions and branches out infinitely (hence why they are called infinities).

In the ninth dimension, we can compare all the possible universe histories, starting with all the different possible laws of physics and initial conditions. In the tenth and final dimension, we arrive at the point in which everything possible and imaginable is covered. Beyond this, nothing can be imagined by us lowly mortals, which makes it the natural limitation of what we can conceive in terms of dimensions.

The existence of these additional six dimensions which we cannot perceive is necessary for String Theory in order for there to be consistency in nature. The fact that we can perceive only four dimensions of space can be explained by one of two mechanisms: either the extra dimensions are compactified on a very small scale, or else our world may live on a 3-dimensional submanifold corresponding to a brane, on which all known particles besides gravity would be restricted (aka. brane theory).

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
LonelyDad

And I had problems with basic calculus. My head hurts!

I think this is one of those things like programming, where almost anyone can write a functional program, but there are those few that are capable of doing things like writing compilers and designing operating systems, that are beyond the ability of others. In the same way, I think the people that can work with these concepts have minds that are just different than the rest of us. To quote a line Dual Writer often uses in his Smart Girls stories, "It just has to be that way".

I thought I was pretty hot stuff until I got to calculus. I just never got that "aha" moment.

awnlee jawking

@LonelyDad

To quote a line Dual Writer often uses in his Smart Girls stories


Are you sure that attribution is correct? ;)

Since the story in question uses science significantly more advanced than ours, the author can use them however they want, provided an explanation is provided to the reader. Just consider how the meaning of 'relativity' has developed in the past 150 years.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
StarFleet Carl

@LonelyDad

I thought I was pretty hot stuff until I got to calculus. I just never got that "aha" moment.


Boy, does THAT sound familiar. I can handle all the 'regular' math just fine. But I learned my freshman year of college that I couldn't cut it in the prerequisite math classes for all the higher engineering courses.

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2

@StarFleet Carl

Mechanical and Materials Engineer by trade. Some of that math actually gets used, but not all of it. Then again, the current crop of engineers seem to be incapable of doing actual design work without their 'trusty' electronic aids.

I got ever so tired of hearing "but the model says it will work!"
Retired early due to that. Just ask the folks down in Florida how the new age engineers are doing with their bridge models. I patently refuse to be responsible for, or take part in, shoddy engineering that cost lives.

Crumbly Writer

@Remus2

I'm fully aware of what quantum is. I would advise some further research in that regards.

And once again, that usage is completely dependent on an acceptance of String Theory, a semi-popular theory among some, but one which has very little wide-spread acceptance because of the surprisingly low quantifiable results.

But more importantly, the String Theory of 'quantum effects' with alternate dimensions has nothing whatsoever to do with actual Quantum Mechanics, but it instead turns a few stray observations of quantum mechanics on its head in order to arrive at the destination they're trying to convince others of.

Thus, I'll repeat, "Quantum theory", in regards to interdimensional travel, has nothing to do with "quantum links". (It's worth noting, however, that this particular 'theory' (theory here not being a scientific theory, which means that it's an 'observable fact', but the more general usage meaning 'unsupported proposal') is used to explain how Quantum Mechanics operates, and that is how the term "Quantum Theory" of interdimensional travel got its name.)

Replies:   Remus2
Crumbly Writer

@LonelyDad

I thought I was pretty hot stuff until I got to calculus. I just never got that "aha" moment.

I was the opposite. I LOVED Calculus, as it allowed me to instantly derive meaning just from looking at the shape of data curves. Unfortunately, while I loved Calculus, Calculus (or rather, my mathematics professors in college) didn't love me back. Because I've got a very mild numerical dyslexia where I occasionally transpose numbers, many of my answers were wrong because a two single digits were transposed in a 15 decimal number, and we weren't allowed to use calculators to check out numbers. As a result, I dropped out of mathematics and science, switching into to the social sciences which did allow us to use modern (at the time) technology to verify our calculations. However, the theoretical stuff came very naturally to me. :(

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Just consider how the meaning of 'relativity' has developed in the past 150 years.

"Relativity", when used in speaking about physics, is a relatively confusing subject. But yeah, "Relativity" and "relatively" and completely disquete concepts.

Remus2

@Crumbly Writer

And once again, that usage is completely dependent on an acceptance of String Theory, a semi-popular theory among some, but one which has very little wide-spread acceptance because of the surprisingly low quantifiable results.


It was this sort of mentality Einstein faced prior to 1919. When Sir Arthur Eddington performed the experiment proving relativity, suddenly most all of his detractors were either silent or supporters.

It's obvious you do not support string theory, or for that matter, give it any credence at all. There will be nothing we can discuss in light of that. The best that can come of this is to agree to disagree.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Remus2


It's obvious you do not support string theory, or for that matter, give it any credence at all. There will be nothing we can discuss in light of that. The best that can come of this is to agree to disagree.


That's clearly not the case, as several of my stories are based on it's premises. However, since I following science news regularly, I'm well aware of it's continuing failure to validate ANY of it's central tenets, despite multiple attempts to do so.

String theory might be valid, and if so, it would open numerous opportunities, but until we can get some actual conformational data, it's going to be a hard sell. But that wasn't my point. My point was that the 'quantum model' of alternate universes isn't based on quantum physics, but only on String Theory's unproven conjectures, hoping to unify quantum theory and traditional Newtonian physics, something which just may not be possible.

Need I remind you, but Sheldon Cooper, the fictional figure best known for representing string theory to most of the world today, was forced to turn his back on string theory because he couldn't make any significant advances necessary to advance his career in physics if he continued his existing research into it.

I'm not saying it's a 'dead field', but at best, it's 'unverifiable', which means the insights it produces are mere scientific curiosities, as they don't really advance our understanding of the universe going forward.

However, speaking of pointless, this whole sub-discussion about String Theory has nothing at all to do with whether an author would use the term "interdimensional" or "extrasimensional" (we'll chalk that up to the inevitable thread drift). Your main argument was that, as a mechanical engineer, you'd get tired of younger engineers insisting that 'their mathematical models predict it should work, which leads to shoddy designs. So why are you so insistent on defending those very same unreliable models? We're essentially agreeing on how unreliable unverified theoretical models are.

BlacKnight

"Inter-" means "between", not in the sense of existing in the space between things, but in the sense of travel or other connections between different entities.

"International travel" is travel from one nation to another, not travel in areas not claimed by any nation. "The Internet" is a network that connects other networks together, not where your tablet is when you can't get signal from any access point. An "interfaith council" is an association of multiple different faiths, not a group for people who can't decide between one religion and another.

"Extra-" means "outside" or "beyond".

"Extrasensory perception" is perception with senses beyond the normal ones. "Extrasolar planets" are planets outside the solar system. "Extramarital sex" is sex outside the bonds of marriage. "Extracurricular activities" are activities beyond those on the curriculum.

So an interdimensional being is one that travels or otherwise spans across multiple dimensions. An extradimensional being is one that exists outside the ordinary dimensions. Both of these may apply to the same being.

Of course, the definition of "dimension" in use here is sci-fi nonsense.

awnlee jawking

@BlacKnight

"Inter-" means "between", not in the sense of existing in the space between things, but in the sense of travel or other connections between different entities.


In maths, interpolation is the construction of data points existing between the currently known data points, so in a way it in the space between things.

Interpersonal distance is the space between two people.

AJ

samuelmichaels

@BlacKnight

Of course, the definition of "dimension" in use here is sci-fi nonsense.

Fully agree with your posting, including the last sentence. But, I should mention that the use of "dimension" to mean planet or universe is quite common in SF and Fantasy.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@samuelmichaels

Fully agree with your posting, including the last sentence. But, I should mention that the use of "dimension" to mean planet or universe is quite common in SF and Fantasy.

There's a clear difference between "dimension" meaning 'an alternate plane of existence' than for the definition meaning 'a measurable distance', but harping on that is a little like complaining anytime someone uses the word "they're" instead of "their". As long as the authors know the words they use, I'm not sure what difference it makes. After all, 'interdimensional' or 'extradimensional' really have no meaning outside of either sci-fi, fringe science or LSD users.

By the way, Samuel, sci-fi authors don't use 'dimension' to mean planets. The proper word for that is "worlds". 'D

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