Technology, Science and Life in two-dimensional Universe
Does life in two dimensions makes sense? Do the laws of physics work and advanced objects can exist? I invite you to take a short journey from a simple idea to touching God, that can almost be reached in modern physics.
A very important work on this topic is the "Symposium on Two-Dimensional Science and Technology" by Mr. A.K. Dewdney. However, it is impossible to find a paper on the internet, so I used some of the related studies and my general knowledge.
The author is a person who is fascinated by the idea of a flat world (not flat Earth!), how science and technology would look like in it. He collected various theoretical studies on the subject by different scientists and published it. It was then questioned and criticized by other scientists.
Exemplary problem of the 2D physics is gravity and action at a distance. In our understanding gravity can not exist in such a world, because there can be no waves and distance effects. A planet in a flat world could not influence other objects beyond its outline.
Scientists have been able to describe many phenomena in two dimensions, but for example chemistry in such a world can not create anything special, life can not exist, there is no periodic table, it is too simple.
If you want to see how many concepts in the two-dimensional world were thought up, take a look at the contents of the symposium - here.
And why do we deal with such a theoretical world at all? Perhaps it affects somehow our 3rd dimensional world in every day life and have some advantages?
A good weapon will not let you down like a good car
Have you ever wondered why certain structures rarely break down, but with technological progress everything becomes more and more delicate ?
(Let's skip planned obsolescence and material savings.)
What element of the suspension of the car breaks most often? I bet that ball joint near the right wheel (why? - guess!). This is an important part of the swingarm, with many degrees of freedom, it allows appropriate movements of connected elements. However, the fact that it can move in many directions causes in my opinion more frequent wear due to difficult constructing in relation to its strength.
Now we see what happens when we add the 3rd dimension needed for the element to work. What does it mean?
Mauser - German pistol
And how does the situation look like in the case of famous items that have been considered for years as very solid constructions? What is so unusual about them? This was noticed by John S. Harris (Brigham Young University). He compared theoreticall two-dimensional devices with real weapon plans, more specifically - with flat mechanisms occurring in the Mauser pistol. This weapon does not have functional elements like bolts or screws in its construction. Its operation is based on an eccentric surface and a two-dimensional joint!
It turns out that many solid weapon constructions from the nineteenth century is based on the principles of the flat world.
Chaos lives in three dimensions
Let's think about an interesting concept now. We already know that tech projects in limited dimensions have limited, not very sophisticated dynamics. However, in higher dimensions, diversity is booming.
Chaos in different languages has a negative meaning, but we owe it to chaos that we can exist at all. There would not be life as we know it and other complex structures [More - Does God Play Dice by Ian Stewart]. What is more, it would be too predictable (if anyone would have been born at all..).
Why the "fun" begins in three dimensions? Mathematics gives an answer. By transforming 3D physical systems into the language of mathematical equations, we notice that dynamic systems show complex and even chaotic behaviors. Their trajectories of states in so many dimensions have a lot of "space" for dancing, wrapping around themselves etc. It is extraordinary how the structure of space itself is the basis of nature's behavior.
The Universe as a hologram
Some of the newer research suggests that the universe in the early phase of existence could be two-dimensional. Also that the space was two-dimensional (remember that time is also a dimension). Scientists Gerard 't Hooft, who is a Nobel Prize winner and Leonard Susskind, were already convinced at the end of the twentieth century that the universe is a hologram, that there is no technical contraindication that the laws of physics could not work in 2 "spatial" dimensions instead of three.
This theory fits well with the observation of the beginnings of our universe. It also turns out that thanks to this theory it is possible to combine theories of gravity and quantum field theories which in 3 dimensions did not want to co-exist. The group from the Technical University in Vienna took care of the subject and counted entropy of quantum entanglement, which was the same in the theory of the gravity of the flat world as in quantum field theory. Perhaps our striving to find The Theory of Everything has become stuck because we perceive the nature of space in a bad way?
According to some scientists, we are now certainly living in three dimensions, while others are looking for further evidence that we are just a projection. So how did the transition between 2D and 3D happened, if at all?
If it was a transition, did our Creator save all the laws of nature in two dimensions, for example for data saving or avoiding errors, and then let them develop on more dimensions adding them just like empty cards? [I allowed myself for this digression as I more and more believe in simulation theory]
In this way, he would be able to enforce the diversity and chaos of the world, which could not be created in two dimensions, and thus life was created. Like machine code, which is simple to write but complex in effects, and every day takes us to virtual worlds of video games.
Alexander Calder used to say that the universe is real, but unfortunately you can not see it, you have to imagine it. And in fact what our senses are doing every day is just a projection of reality [my post in polish language was about this, for english readers, below I made short summary].
People tend not to understand the nature of the Universe. There are no colors. Sounds are just waves. You do not feel the space by fingers, the space is almost empty. Most mind blowing fact is our minds live in the past. There is a lag between senses and our actions and many parts of our body must predict what would happen and act accordingly! Our world is very unpleasant place but our bodies have senses that help us living. But why, what is the point? In the article I try to find answer - is the information itself some kind of better life [than flesh minds]?
If we are to understand the meaning of our existence and everything that surrounds us, we can not be afraid of brave ideas. Theoretical physicists present them very often and what's best - they base them on the current state of science, so "theoretically" these brave, very often crazy ideas are possible (note: theory is not only a hypothesis, theory is applicable in practice or in observations).
In this post we were wondering about the features of the two-dimensional world, but also created a thought experiment describing the worlds with a different number of dimensions than those commonly known and intuitively understood. Mathematical calculations follow these thoughts.
You probably already think that life will not exist in two dimensions. If you want to think you need brain, cross-linked nerve cells are unavoidable, two dimensions are not suitable for this. But can we think what it would be like to live in a different number of dimensions space and time keeping the rules of physics?
Let's start with the fact that dimensions 1 and 2 are too simple, regardless of whether they have one dimension of time or two times (sic!). If we are looking for a world where the present is affecting the future, we must eliminate many unpredictable worlds. So we cut all worlds without time and with two or more times if space dimensions are more than one. Why? The exception is tachyons in three time dimensions and one space. It's a theoretical particle moving faster than light. No we have little options left because if we are looking for a world in which stable atoms exist, we must exclude worlds that have one dimension of time as our world, but over 3 space dimensions! Unfortunately, also everything that is after the world of over-lighting signals of tachyons gets useless - having more than 3 time dimensions and 1 space.
We are left with hypothetical lonely tachyons and opposite to them us. Generally, it is hard to understand the concept of a few times, but let's try to recall my earlier considerations. With growing number of dimensions - complexity and possible diversity grows. Matter, with multiple time dimensions, would easily fall apart, just like this. One particle would easily become other. "Chaos".
On the one hand, there is nothing unusual in our existence - we live because we have the perfect conditions - good age of the universe, constant nature laws and many other factors. Life seems very unlikely to happen, but not for us because otherwise we would not be able to see it - we would not have existed for the observation of this fact.
However, let's not forget that our world can be the result of one of many .. billions unsuccessful experiments. Experiments that we could even start ourselves (!). But we will talk about the hypothetical universe development in next article.
Literature & Sources:
- Engineering Designs in Planiverse
- Is the universe a hologram?
- The Constants of Nature - The Numbers That Encode the Deepest Secrets of the Universe, John Barrow
- Does God Play Dice, Ian Stewart
- Physicists investigate lower dimensions of the universe
- free pixabay and my own photos
Thank you for your time and feel free to comment.