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Dimension in Physics

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What is Dimension in Physics

Definition of Dimension in Physics: Dimension in physics refers to measurable attributes that define the extent and properties of objects and events in our universe. They include familiar spatial dimensions (length, width, height) and dimensions in other physical quantities like time, mass, and charge.

The dimension of a physical quantity shows the application of the method of fundamental quantities like Mass (M), Length (L), and Time (T) to relate the fundamental units of a physical quantity.

In dimension, we derive quantities by applying physical quantities. Understanding dimension, demands understanding the method of measurements, fundamental quantities, derived quantities, and even their corresponding units in physics.

Dimension in Physics

By reading this article, readers can expect to gain a deeper understanding of what dimension in physics truly represent, how to calculate it, how they extend beyond the three spatial dimensions, and their role in shaping the fabric of reality.

Moreover, the article will explore the implications of higher dimensions, compactification, and how these concepts contribute to the unification of forces in the universe.

By the end of this journey, readers will not only comprehend the multidimensional nature of our existence but also appreciate how this understanding has profound implications for our comprehension of the cosmos and its many enigmas.

Dimension in physics
Dimension in physics

The dimension of a physical quantity allows us to find the relationship between quantities. As we mentioned earlier, we apply Mass in form of M, Length in form of L, and Time in form of T.

Additionally, units like temperature will be in form of K or θ, electric current in form of (A) which is an expression for ampere, and finally luminous intensity as (II).

Table of Dimensions in Physics

Tensile stressML-1T-2
Elastic ForceMLT-2
Young ModulusML-1T-2
Work done in elastic spring/stringML2T-2
Work done horizontalML2T-2
Work done verticalML2T-2
Kinetic energyML2T-2
Potential energyML2T-2
Projectile time of flightT
Projectile maximum heightL
Projectile rangeL
Moment of forceML2T-2
Centripetal accelerationLT-2
Centripetal forceMLT-2
Linear velocityLT-1
Linear accelerationLT-2
Period of simple pendulumT
Work done by expanding gasML2T-2
Wave velocityLT-1
Gravitational ForceMLT-2
Gravitational potentialL2T-2
Escape velocityLT-1
Electric forceMLT-2
Magnetic forceMLT-2
Dimension Table in Physics

Understanding Dimension of Physical Quantities

Dimensions in physics refer to the basic parameters that define the extent and properties of objects and events in our three-dimensional reality.

These dimensions include the familiar spatial dimensions of length, width, and height, as well as dimensions in other physical quantities, such as time, mass, charge, and more.

When combined, they constitute what is known as the spacetime continuum, a four-dimensional structure that underlies all physical phenomena.

The knowledge of dimensions is very important in various physical theories. These theories, which include General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and many others, form the foundation of our understanding of the universe.

Therefore, dimensions play a central role in these theories, influencing the behavior of particles, the curvature of spacetime, and the interactions between forces.

Without a pure understanding of dimension, it would be impossible to understand the workings of the cosmos and the profound laws governing it.

The purpose of this article is to shed light on the concept of dimensions in physics and delve into its significance across various theoretical frameworks.

As we embark on this exploration of dimensions in physics, prepare to venture beyond the boundaries of everyday experience and into the extraordinary vistas of theoretical possibilities.

Through this knowledge, we can unlock the mysteries of the universe and glimpse the harmonious interplay between dimensions that governs the majestic dance of creation. Let us now embark on this intellectual odyssey and unravel the secrets that dimensions hold in the mesmerizing tapestry of our universe.

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SS1 Lesson Note: Introduction to Physics For First Term

How to Calculate Dimensions of Physical Quantity

To calculate the dimensions of a physical quantity, we need to understand that the measurement of quantities in units of Length, Mass, and Time involves the dimension Length (L), Mass (M), and Time (T) respectively.

To find the dimension of any quantity, we substitute the units of the quantity into L, M, and T. You insert the symbols into a bracket in this way: [L], [M], and [T]. For example, to find the dimension of speed, we first write the formula as

Speed = Distance / Time

and we know that the unit for

Distance = meter (m) and meter is a length, which can be

Dimension of Distance = [L]

Note: We only have m which is [L]. If we have m2, we can now write [L2]

and Time is in seconds which can also be T

Thus, the dimension of Time = T

To derive the dimension of speed, we say:

Speed = Distance / Time

This implies that

Speed = [L] / [T]

Therefore, the dimension of Speed = [LT-1] or [L][T-1]

Worked Examples on Dimension in Physics

Here are examples to make you understand dimension in physics: how to calculate dimensions of physical quantities

Example 1

  1. Find the dimension of an Area and Volume.


For Area = Length x Breadth

Which shows that the dimension of Area = [L] x [L] = [L2]

Now, since volume = Length x Base x Height

The dimension of volume = [L] x [L] x [L] = [L3]

Example 2

2. Deduce the dimension of (a) force and (b) Pressure


(a) force = mass x acceleration

which shows that

Dimension of force = dimension of mass x dimension of acceleration

and the Dimension of mass = [M]

while the Dimension of acceleration = Dimension of Velocity / Dimension of Time

and Dimension of Velocity = Dimension of Displacement [L] / Dimension of Time [T]

Thus, Dimension of Velocity = [L] / [T] = [L] [T-1] or [LT-1]

Therefore, by substituting the dimensions of velocity and time into acceleration,

we have

dimension of acceleration = [LT-1] / [T] = [LT-2]

Now, to finally derive the acceleration of force,

we say

Dimension of force = [M] x [LT-2] = [M] [LT-2] or [MLT-2]

(b) To find the dimension of pressure

We apply the formula pressure = force / area

which means Dimension of pressure = Dimension of force / Dimension of area

and Dimension of force = Dimension mass x Dimension of acceleration

you can remember that we earlier calculated the dimension of force as [MLT-2]

Also, Dimension of area = [L] x [L] = [L2]

Thus, Dimension of pressure = [MLT-2] / [L2]

This implies

Dimension of pressure = [ML-1T-2]

Example 3

Find the dimension of the following:

a. work

b. Velocity

c. Linear acceleration

d. Power

e. Pressure

f. Momentum

g. Impulse


a. Work = Force x Distance

Dimension of Work = Dimension of Force x Dimension of Distance

Therefore, Dimension of Work = MLT-2 x L

This implies that, Dimension of work = ML2 T-2

b. Velocity = Displacement / Time = L / T = LT-1

c. Acceleration = Velocity / Time = LT-1 / T = LT-2

d. Power = work done / time = ML2 T-2 / T = ML2 T-3

e. Pressure = Force / Area = MLT-2 / L3 = ML-2T-2

f. Momentum = mass x velocity = M x LT-1 = MLT-1

g. Impulse = Force x Time = MLT-2 x T = MLT-1

Example 4

Find the dimension in the electrical system of the following:

a. Electric charge

b. Electrical Potential (voltage)

c. Capacitance (c)


a. To find electric charge, we use the formula

electric charge = current (A) x time (T)

Thus, electric charge = [A] x [T] = [AT]

b. Electric potential (voltage) = power / current

Dimension voltage = ML2 T-3 / A = [MA-1L2 T-3]

c. Capacitance = charge / potential = [AT] / [MA-1L2 T-3]

Thus, capacitance = [M-1A2L-2 T4]

Dimensional Constants

Dimensional constants are special numbers in physics and they help us to understand our universe. Unlike ordinary numbers, these constants have specific units of measurement, representing different dimensions like length, time, mass, and charge.

They act as the building blocks of various physical laws and equations, providing a framework to describe the behaviour of matter and energy.

Some well-known dimensional constants include the speed of light (denoted as “c”), which is the maximum speed at which information can travel in the universe, and the gravitational constant (denoted as “G”), which determines the strength of the force of gravity between objects.

These constants serve as the threads that weave together the fabric of physics. They are like universal rules that govern the behaviour of everything, from the tiniest subatomic particles to the grandest cosmic phenomena.

Scientists use dimensional constants to create mathematical models and theories that explain how the universe works.

Dimensionless Quantities

Dimensionless quantities are numerical values or ratios that have no units of measurement. Unlike dimensional quantities, which have specific units like length, time, or mass, dimensionless quantities are pure numbers.

They express the relationships between different physical quantities without being affected by units or scales.

Dimensionless quantities play a significant role in various branches of science, including physics, engineering, and mathematics.

They often emerge in equations and formulas as important constants or parameters, simplifying calculations and facilitating comparisons between different systems or phenomena.

Advanced Dimension in Physics

Understanding Dimension

Imagine you have a special pair of glasses that let you see and understand everything around you in a magical way. Well, dimensions are like those special glasses that physicists wear to understand how our universe works!

A. What are Dimensions? In the context of physics, dimensions are like special measuring sticks that help scientists describe and make sense of everything they see and study in the world. Just like you use a ruler to measure the length of a toy or a book, dimensions are used to measure different aspects of everything around us.

B. Different Types of Dimensions Now, here’s the exciting part: there are different types of dimensions! The ones you probably know well are the spatial dimensions. These are like the directions you can move in—up and down, left and right, and forward and backwards. We use these three spatial dimensions to figure out where things are in our world.

But guess what? There are other types of dimensions too! For example, there’s the time dimension. Time helps us understand when things happen, like when your favourite TV show starts or how long it takes for your ice cream to melt.

Then, there are even more mysterious dimensions, like those related to mass and charge. These special dimensions tell us how heavy something is (mass) or how it attracts or repels other things (charge).

C. Let’s Talk About “n-Dimensional” Spaces Now, close your eyes and imagine a world where you could move not just in three directions but many more—like up, down, left, right, forward, backward, and even more ways! That’s what we call an “n-dimensional” space. The “n” stands for the number of directions you can move.

The Three Spatial Dimensions

Spatial dimensions—these are like the special coordinates that help us find our way around in the big, wide universe!

A. Familiar Three Spatial Dimensions Let us start by imagining a magical playground where you can move in different directions. We have three special directions to move in our world: length, width, and height. These are the three spatial dimensions that help us figure out where things are located.

Length is like stretching from one end to another. Imagine a super-long line that goes from your bedroom to the kitchen. That’s the length!

Width is like stretching from side to side. Picture a wide road that goes from one wall of your room to the other. That’s the width!

Height is like stretching from the floor to the ceiling. Imagine how high you can jump to touch the ceiling. That’s the height!

How Are These Dimensions Represented Mathematically?

Now, we use some special math to show these dimensions. Imagine you have a treasure map, and you need to give the exact location of the hidden treasure. You would use numbers and symbols, right? Well, that is what we do with spatial dimensions!

For length, we use a number line that goes from left to right. The left side is like a big “0,” and the right side is like a big number, let’s say “10.” So, if your toy car is at “3” on the number line, it means it’s three units away from the “0” point.

For width, we have another number line that goes from front to back. The front side is “0,” and the back side might be “6.” So, if your favorite teddy bear is at “4” on this line, it’s four units away from the front.

For height, it’s like a number ladder going up and down. The floor is “0,” and maybe the ceiling is “5.” So, if your kite is floating at “2,” it’s two units above the floor.

C. Real-World Examples of Each Spatial Dimension Let us see how these dimensions help us in real life! Imagine you are building a cool Lego house. You need to know the length, width, and height of each brick to make the house just right!

For length, you use a ruler to measure how long each brick is. For width, you measure how wide the brick is. And for height, you stack the bricks up to see how tall your Lego tower is getting!

Higher Dimensions

Just like we have length, width, and height, there are more dimensions that exist beyond our normal senses. We call them higher dimensions, and they’re like secret passages that lead us to new and amazing places in the universe!

Picture this: If you had special glasses that let you see in four, five, or even more directions, you’d discover a whole new way to explore the world! These extra dimensions may be a bit tricky to imagine, but that’s where the magic of math and imagination comes in!

Using Math and Imagination to Understand Higher Dimensions

Physicists, who are like the greatest adventurers of all, use a special kind of math to understand these higher dimensions. It’s like having a treasure map that guides them on this exciting quest! With math, they can dream up wild and wondrous worlds beyond what we can see with our eyes.

But wait, how can you explore something you can’t see? That’s where imagination comes to the rescue! You know how you imagine flying on a dragon or exploring a mystical castle? It’s just like that! Physicists use their big imaginations to create vivid pictures of these hidden dimensions in their minds.

Theories of Higher Dimensions

We will now have a look at some extraordinary theories that talk about these higher dimensions:

  1. Kaluza-Klein Theory: This theory suggests that there might be a fifth dimension, invisible to us, but it’s wrapped up so tiny that we can’t notice it. It’s like a sneaky mouse hiding in a tiny hole!
  2. String Theory: Hold on tight, because this theory is mind-blowing! It says that everything in the universe is made up of tiny, vibrating strings, like musical notes playing together. And guess what? To make the math work, string theory needs not three, not four, but a whopping ten dimensions!
  3. Multidimensional Universes: Imagine a bunch of soap bubbles floating in the air, each one a separate universe. Some scientists think that there might be many universes, each with its own set of dimensions, existing side by side.

These theories help scientists understand the deepest secrets of the universe and imagine what incredible things might be out there.

Role of Dimensions in Fundamental Theories

We have learnt about dimensions and how they help us understand our world. Now, we will look into the fundamental theories in physics and see how dimensions play a super important role in these mind-boggling ideas!

A. How Dimensions are Crucial in Fundamental Theories

Imagine you are building a super cool puzzle with lots of pieces. Each piece is like a tiny part of the universe, and physicists want to put them all together to see the bigger picture! But guess what? Dimensions are like the special glue that holds these puzzle pieces together!

B. Dimensions in General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics

The two amazing theories—General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Imagine General Relativity as a way to understand how super heavy objects, like planets and stars, move and bend the space around them. It’s like planets doing a cosmic dance with space!

Now, Quantum Mechanics is like the dance of super tiny particles, like atoms and electrons. They do the tiniest, most mysterious moves you can imagine! Both these theories are super smart, but guess what? Dimensions are the secret sauce that makes them work!

In General Relativity, dimensions help us see how objects move in our regular three-dimensional world and how they interact with gravity. But when we talk about the mind-bending things in space, like black holes, dimensions lead us into the hidden secrets of the universe!

In Quantum Mechanics, dimensions help us figure out the strange behaviour of particles in the teeny-tiny world. They dance in higher dimensions that we can’t see, but we use math and imagination to understand their moves!

C. Unifying Different Physical Forces

Okay, this part is mind-blowing! Imagine you have different magic powers, like flying and turning invisible. It would be amazing to combine them, right? Well, that’s what dimensions do in physics!

Scientists dream of finding a grand theory, like a magical spell, that combines all the different forces in the universe—like gravity, electricity, and magnetism—into one big harmonious dance! And guess what? Dimensions are the key to making this dream come true!

With higher dimensions, physicists imagine a world where all the forces play together, like notes in a perfect symphony. It’s like finding the missing piece to complete the biggest puzzle of the universe!

Compactification and Extra Dimensions

A. What is Compactification in Higher Dimensions?

Okay, imagine you have a super long straw—so long that it goes from your house to the moon! Now, what if you could scrunch up that straw like an accordion until it’s tiny enough to fit in your pocket? That’s a bit like what compactification does with higher dimensions!

In the world of physics, compactification takes the extra dimensions—those beyond our familiar three—and rolls them up or hides them in such a clever way that they become super tiny and hard to see. But even though they’re hidden, they still have a magical influence on the universe!

B. Curled-Up Dimensions: A Magical Idea

Here comes the really magical part: Imagine you are a tiny ant walking on the surface of a straw. It looks like a straight line to you, right? But what if that straw is secretly curled up into a teeny-tiny circle that you can’t see? That is the idea of curled-up dimensions!

In modern physics, some theories suggest that these extra dimensions are so small and curled up, they are like invisible playgrounds for tiny particles to explore! These curled-up dimensions are like hidden treasures, and physicists use their super-smart math and imagination to figure them out.

C. Examples and Illustrations

Imagine you’re playing hide-and-seek with a tiny bug. The bug hides in a tiny folded paper, and you have to find it! Even though the bug is small, it can sneak into secret spots because of compactification. That is how higher dimensions work—they hide, but they are still there!

Now, picture a magical garden with a hidden door. When you go through the door, the garden turns into a beautiful meadow with colourful flowers and butterflies. That’s a bit like what happens when we travel through these extra dimensions! They lead us to wondrous places beyond our usual world.

Theoretical and Philosophical Implications

A. The Philosophical Aspects of Dimensions in Physics

Imagine you have a big question in your mind—like, “Why is the sky blue?” Finding the answer might lead you to even more questions, right? Well, dimensions are like those endless questions that make us ponder the deepest mysteries of existence!

Philosophy is like a treasure hunt for big ideas. Some philosophers wonder if dimensions hold secrets about the true nature of reality. They ask mind-boggling questions, like “Are there more dimensions we can’t see?” or “What if we are just tiny parts of a much bigger puzzle?”

B. The Marvelous Multiverse

Hold on tight, because this concept is out-of-this-world amazing! Imagine you have a big box of crayons, each crayon representing a different universe. Now, what if there were not just one box, but many boxes of crayons—each with its own set of colours and drawings? That is the idea of a “multiverse”!

Some scientists believe that our universe might just be one tiny part of a vast collection of universes, each with its own unique dimensions and rules. It’s like having an infinite number of cosmic playgrounds where anything and everything is possible!

C. Debates and Interpretations about Higher Dimensions

In the world of science, debates are like friendly games where scientists share their different ideas and explore new possibilities together. One of the biggest debates is about higher dimensions—how many are there, and what do they look like?

Imagine you and your friends drawing pictures of aliens. Everyone has their own ideas, right? Well, scientists also have different interpretations of higher dimensions. Some believe there might be many hidden dimensions beyond our understanding, while others think there might be only a few.

Some scientists even wonder if dimensions could be like different layers of reality, each influencing the others in mysterious ways. It’s like having different flavours of ice cream that mix together to create a delicious cosmic swirl!

Applications of Understanding Dimensions

A. Practical Applications in Various Fields

Imagine you are building a super awesome treehouse, and you need to know the perfect measurements to make it sturdy and just right! Understanding dimensions is like having a special treasure map that guides engineers in building amazing structures, bridges, and even skyscrapers! They use dimensions to make sure everything fits perfectly like puzzle pieces.

In cosmology, which is like exploring the universe’s biggest mysteries, dimensions help scientists understand how galaxies and stars move in space. It’s like being cosmic detectives, using dimensions to unravel the story of the universe’s birth and growth!

In the magical world of computer science, dimensions play an important role in creating video games, animations, and even virtual reality! It’s like giving life to imaginary worlds, and dimensions are like the secret spells that make everything look and feel real!

B. How Higher Dimensions Influence Technological Advancements

Picture this: You have a super cool gadget that can do ten amazing things all at once! Well, in technology, higher dimensions open up a world of possibilities that seem almost magical!

Do you know how your favourite superhero can move super fast in different directions? In the same way, understanding higher dimensions allows scientists to create super fast and powerful computers! These computers can solve problems that were once too big or too complex to handle, like saving the world from computer villains!

C. Breakthroughs in Physics

Hold on tight, because we’re about to witness some mind-blowing breakthroughs in the world of physics—thanks to dimensions!

Imagine you have a giant puzzle with missing pieces. Figuring out where those pieces fit is like what scientists do with dimensions. They discovered new particles, like the Higgs boson, using dimensions like magic magnifying glasses!

One of the biggest discoveries in physics is gravity waves. These are like ripples in a magical pond, created when huge objects move in space. Understanding dimensions helped scientists build amazing machines, like LIGO, that can listen to these cosmic whispers and tell us incredible stories about the universe!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Are there more dimensions beyond the three spatial dimensions?

Yes, according to some scientific theories, there might be additional hidden dimensions beyond our familiar three spatial dimensions. These higher dimensions play a crucial role in modern physics, especially in theories like string theory and multidimensional universes.

Q2: How do dimensions influence fundamental theories in physics?

Dimensions play a crucial role in fundamental theories of physics, such as General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. They help physicists understand how objects move and interact in space and time, as well as how particles behave in the microscopic world.

Q3: What is compactification in the context of higher dimensions?

Compactification is a process in which extra dimensions beyond the familiar three are rolled up or hidden in such a way that they become tiny and difficult to observe. This concept is important in certain theories that suggest the existence of higher dimensions.

Q4: How do dimensions relate to technological advancements?

Understanding dimensions has significant implications for technology. It has led to the development of powerful supercomputers, advanced simulations, and technological innovations in various fields, enhancing our understanding of the universe and improving everyday applications.

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