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Surfing through Hyperspace: Understanding Higher Universes in Six Easy Lessons [Kindle Edition]

Clifford A. Pickover
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Do a little armchair time-travel, rub elbows with a four-dimensional intelligent life form, or stretch your mind to the furthest corner of an uncharted universe. With this astonishing guidebook, Surfing Through Hyperspace, you need not be a mathematician or an astrophysicist to explore the all-but-unfathomable concepts of hyperspace and higher-dimensional geometry.
No subject in mathematics has intrigued both children and adults as much as the idea of a fourth dimension. Philosophers and parapsychologists have meditated on this mysterious space that no one can point to but may be all around us. Yet this extra dimension has a very real, practical value to mathematicians and physicists who use it every day in their calculations. In the tradition of Flatland, and with an infectious enthusiasm, Clifford Pickover tackles the problems inherent in our 3-D brains trying to visualize a 4-D world, muses on the religious implications of the existence of higher-dimensional consciousness, and urges all curious readers to venture into "the unexplored territory lying beyond the prison of the obvious." Pickover alternates sections that explain the science of hyperspace with sections that dramatize mind-expanding concepts through a fictional dialogue between two futuristic FBI agents who dabble in the fourth dimension as a matter of national security. This highly accessible and entertaining approach turns an intimidating subject into a scientific game open to all dreamers.
Surfing Through Hyperspace concludes with a number of puzzles, computer experiments and formulas for further exploration, inviting readers to extend their minds across this inexhaustibly intriguing scientific terrain.

Editorial Reviews Review

Clifford Pickover is IBM's Renaissance-guy-in-residence. His job is to play with cool ideas--time travel (Time: A Traveler's Guide), extraterrestrials (The Science of Aliens), and the line between genius and crackpot (Strange Brains and Genius). His latest game is an oldie but goodie: trying to imagine the fourth dimension.

Like a number of his other books, Surfing is structured as a fiction, in this case an X-Files romance--Pickover clearly has a deep and personal appreciation for Scully (whom he calls "Sally," presumably on advice of counsel). You, dear reader, are the FBI's chief investigator of four-dimensional phenomena. As you and your cohorts chase bizarre manifestations from "upsilon" (4-D up) and "delta" (4-D down), Pickover provides explanations, paradoxes, and problems, with many helpful drawings and computer-generated illustrations.

Pickover's book, like every work on higher dimensions, is something of a sequel to Edwin Abbott's classic story, Flatland. Like Abbott, Pickover doesn't just look at the mathematics: "I want to know if humankind's Gods could exist in the fourth dimension." Not for the theologically squeamish, this book is lively, provocative, outrageous, and fascinating. --Mary Ellen Curtin

From Publishers Weekly

Hyperbeings have kidnapped the president! Prolific Discover magazine columnist Pickover (Time: A Traveler's Guide, etc.) alternates expositions of math, physics and geometry with episodes of instructional science fiction while showing interested amateurs the mathematical and physical properties of higher spatial dimensions. Familiar analogies from Edwin Abbott's classic Flatland link up with odder ones from Baha'i and Christian scripture, The X-Files and the superstring theories of modern cosmologists, as Pickover explains how to trap a 4-D organism or why one twirl through a fourth dimension could turn you into your mirror image. Pickover's usual whimsy is in full force here, as he focuses on what four-dimensional organisms could (or do) look like to us: 4-D lifeforms, he explains, could make any 3-D object vanish (or reappear) by lifting it out of (or dropping it back into) our 3-D space. And 4-D creatures with anatomies analogous to ours would probably look, from our limited perspective, like sets of floating, unconnected flesh blobs. In the book's science fictional sections, "you" (a Mulder-esque FBI agent) team up with a skeptic named Sally to investigate mysterious hyperbeings. These second-person adventures seem aimed at young readers, though they don't get in the way of the more sophisticated ideas. Several substantial appendices describe puzzles and games related to hyperspace, while others explain related topics (like the mathematical entities called quaternions) or suggest further reading. Line drawings throughout. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 5257 KB
  • Print Length: 168 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0195130065
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (August 16, 1999)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006DU7DHO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #558,071 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Four-Dimensional World for Imaginative Minds September 11, 2001
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The four-dimensional world treated in this book is not the space-time of the theory of relativity, but the world with a fourth spatial direction different from all the directions of our normal three-dimensional space. A number of books on the fourth dimension had already been published. So, why did Pickover, an IBM researcher who published many popular books, write this book? He gives an answer in the preface: The main purpose of the book is to tell the reader the physical appearance of four-dimensional beings, what they can do in our world, and the religious implications of their penetration into our world, with a few simple formulas and computer programs to aid the understanding of the four- and more-dimensional spaces (those who are not interested in computing can easily skip them).
The author presents an SF story, in which an FBI agent, "you," gives personal lectures on hyperspace to his younger fellow agent Sally. Finally they both experience surfing into a four-dimensional world. Meanwhile the reader learns concepts and terms such as "hyperspheres," "tesseracts," "enantiomorphic," "extrinsic geometry," "quaternions," "nonorientable surfaces," etc. The author succeeds in achieving his aim rather well by the use of many illustrations and computer graphics, though he cites too much from Edwin Abbott's "Flatland" in early chapters and from Karl Heim's "Christian Faith and Natural Science" in later chapters.
The book has nine Appendixes (one is a list of SF stories and novels about the fourth dimension), "Notes" and "Further Readings" sections, and Addendum about recent publications dealing with parallel universes and cosmic topology. These are also interesting and informative.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surfing Through Hyperspace is thought at it's peak. October 1, 1999
By A Customer
Most people are not ready or willing to accept the idea of a fourth dimension, but, Pickover seems to actually live there a few months out of the year. He steps back into our realm only long enough to create another volume to help the rest of us understand the higher universes he's been traversing. Hyperspace is very thoughtfully researched and written with such talent the world has not seen before and may not see again. It contains just the right amount of imagination without being too speculative. Just enough science without being bogged down with math, and a story to help you understand where he wants to go without resorting to "technobabble". All of the visual ideas are accompanied by simple, easy to digest illustrations. I seriosly recommend this and any other Pickover books that enter your range of interest. I promise you will not be wasting your time or money and you will come away from your experience wiser and able to see the world in a wonderful new way.
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32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A profound disappointment in six easy lessons! June 15, 2005
Queen Victoria almost certainly would have been amused if she had thought to pick up a copy of Edwin Abbott's inventive story "Flatland" when it was first published in 1884. But it's unlikely that she would be amused at the degree to which Pickover has chosen to rehash all of the same ideas - and, not just once, but seeking to dress the same material up as different chapters over and over again. My goodness, there are only so many ways that one can say a three dimensional sphere projects as a circle in two dimensions. Therefore, a four dimensional hypershpere projects into three dimensions as a sphere. OK, OK - I got it the first time!

It's bad enough that Surfing Through Hyperspace barely rises above plagiarism. But Pickover has tried to tart the presentation up with a bizarre, pretentious narration that is also a simple rip off from Scully and Mulder of X-Files fame! This silly repetitious presentation borders on insulting to any intelligent reader who, after reading a couple or three chapters, will realize they would have been better off going to the store to buy the original item - Flatland.

Any other material that is beyond Flatland - wormholes, Many Worlds Theory, quantum mechanics and superluminal contact, to name a few examples - are explained more completely and more clearly in any number of other sources. I did briefly get excited when one chapter headed down a road that looked really promising - multidimensional variations on games like chess and monopoly; knights that weren't allowed to effectively jump into the 3rd dimension by leaping over men on the board; 3-D chess play inside an 8x8 cube; a chess board on a Möbius strip. Then Pickover pulled the ultimate cop out - "We leave exploration of these interesting variations as an exercise to the reader.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two 4-Dimensional thumbs up!! October 8, 1999
By A Customer
You will nod with approval over this entertaining romp through the scientific and speculative world of higher (and lower!) dimensions. Written in Pickover's intensely engaging style, you will feel as though you've actually experienced the Fourth Dimension and other spacious realms.
You'll feel like you're in the midst of the action as X-Files-like FBI agents ask the same questions the reader would ask about how other dimensional beings would look. The witty text is highlighted with original photos, cartoons and graphics to aid the reader in visualizing these unseen dimensions. Surfing Through Hyperspace is a "must read" for everyone whose imagination seeks to exceed the boundaries of our 3-D space. You will even grow an extra brain!
April Pedersen
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars An easy read. Not a big fan of how much ...
An easy read. Not a big fan of how much he quotes other materials. Not a fan of the X-files references or the cheesy detective FBI agent story. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Eric
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fun and fascinating!
Published 2 months ago by Bramble
5.0 out of 5 stars Clifford A. Pickover makes interesting topics even more interesting...
Clifford A. Pickover makes interesting topics even more interesting. This is not the first book I have read by Clifford A. Pickover and it will not be the last.
Published 3 months ago by GPL
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! Takes what could be a very tough ...
Great book! Takes what could be a very tough concept for many and makes it very easy to understand through a fictional story. I highly recommend this for anyone.
Published 4 months ago by Jennifer C.
4.0 out of 5 stars Book about different dimensions
Some of the content of this book went over my head. Yes, one or two important points are repeated but I didn't mind.
Published 11 months ago by DawnYawn
5.0 out of 5 stars I've never had so much fun in non-fiction
I enjoyed this book immensely. For the first time, I "get" n-dimensional space and physics. I recommend this book highly to the inquisitive.
Published 23 months ago by Arlen L.
2.0 out of 5 stars repetitive, cheesy, and boring
This book explored the fourth dimension. The author attempts to tackle the problem with our #D oriented minds that prevents us from visualizing the fourth dimension, which is... Read more
Published 24 months ago by Megan Elizabeth
2.0 out of 5 stars Was not my cup of tea
All too weird and a difficult to stay focused - the author could have done more to make it more relatable to average reader.
Published on February 26, 2013 by Dennis Martin
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment
I started reading this book and was bored after a couple of pages. I expected the book to be informational, but it seemed to be written for entertainment, and not the kind I like. Read more
Published on February 12, 2012 by Aleksey Lazar
5.0 out of 5 stars What would four dimensional beings look like?
Great science is about answering interesting questions and great science writing is about making those selfsame answers accessible to the public. Read more
Published on April 9, 2007 by Steve Reina
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More About the Author

From my publisher:

Clifford A. Pickover received his Ph.D. from Yale University and is the author of over 30 books on such topics as computers and creativity, art, mathematics, black holes, religion, human behavior and intelligence, time travel, alien life, and science fiction.

Pickover is a prolific inventor with dozens of patents, is the associate editor for several journals, the author of colorful puzzle calendars, and puzzle contributor to magazines geared to children and adults.

WIRED magazine writes, "Bucky Fuller thought big, Arthur C. Clarke thinks big, but Cliff Pickover outdoes them both." According to The Los Angeles Times, "Pickover has published nearly a book a year in which he stretches the limits of computers, art and thought."
The Christian Science Monitor writes, "Pickover inspires a new generation of da Vincis to build unknown flying machines and create new Mona Lisas." Pickover's computer graphics have been featured on the cover of many popular magazines and on TV shows.

His web site, Pickover.Com, has received millions of visits. His Blog RealityCarnival.Com is one of his most popular sites.

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