The short video clip below shows the 3D rotations of a 4D object. The deeper questions concern the nature of a “dimension”. How do we know what a dimension is, and if we live in a 3D universe, could we possible also exist in a higher-dimensional universe? it is best to  start with simple examples in order to train the mind to think about these questions. The clip below shows a tesseract, which is the four-dimensional analog of a cube. (In geomery, it is called a regular octachoron or cubic prism.) The tesseract is to the cube as the cube is to the square. Just as the surface of the cube consists of 6 square faces, the hypersurface of the tesseract consists of 8 cubical cells.

A generalization of the cube to dimensions greater than three is called a “hypercube”, “n-cube” or “measure polytope”. The tesseract is the four-dimensional hypercube, or 4-cube.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word tesseract was coined and first used in 1888 by Charles Howard Hinton in his book A New Era of Thought, from the Greek τέσσερεις ακτίνες (“four rays”), referring to the four lines from each vertex to other vertices. Some people have called the same figure a tetracube, and also simply a hypercube (although the term hypercube is also used with dimensions greater than 4).

 

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