In an episode of Doctor Who, the Second Doctor, played by Patrick Troughton, tries to explain how the TARDIS can be bigger on the inside:

He holds up two little black boxes that are the same size, and puts one down far away on the other side of the room. Holding the other one close to his companion's face, he asks "Which box is bigger?" (For clarity, we'll call the box that appears bigger at the moment Box A.)

Then he swaps around the relative positions of the boxes. "Now which box is bigger?" Obviously, Box B is now the biggest one.
"So, if you could keep that box over there and bring it over here, that box would fit inside this one."

I presume that the inside of the TARDIS is a curled-up set of dimensions that appear normal size from within, but viewed from an alternative set of dimensions, such as those in which they are contained, feel smaller (relatively speaking). That's the theory, anyway....

I have to admit that I have seen relatively little of Doctor Who; however langrage's explanation of TARDIS:
"I presume that the inside of the TARDIS is a curled-up set of dimensions that appear normal size from within,..."
is amazingly similar to string theory.

In order for the equations (which granted are mere approximations) to work, the space in which we live -must- be at least 10-dimensional - 1 time-dimension and the rest spatial. There then exist the three regular dimensions which we are familiar with and the rest are curled into special shapes with very particular mathematical properties.

But what's most interesting is at very, very, very small distances. In this realm, which is actually at a sub-quark level, string theory proposes that an examination on a smaller scale is impossible. In fact, there exists no smaller scale.

What happens instead, due to the symmetries of M-Theory, is that as one watches the universe collapse, the normal 3 spatial dimensions which we all know (and love) get smaller but, but the dimensions wrapped into this tiny, tiny little shapes...get larger. That means as the universe collapses on the large scale, it grows at the smallest scale. And when both the big spatial dimensions and the little spatial dimensions are at the same scale, then they flip. The small become the big; the big become the small. Now instead of having a Big Bang there's a Bounce!.

String theorists are not sure of the other implications of this particular symmetry of dimensions, but to me it seems awfully TARDIS-ian.

A feature shared by the TARDIS (of the Dr. Who series) and the house of Wonko the Sane (of The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy). Dr. Who's time-and-space-travelling vehicle appeared to be a mere phone booth from the outside, but inside housed a whole lot of, well, stuff. Wonko the Sane's house was turned inside out -- what you would usually expect to find outside a house (the yard, exterior paint, etc.) was on what was structurally the inside and everything you would expect to find on the inside (wallpaper, furniture, carpet, etc.) was on the structural outside. The whole thing curved around in a very Escher-like way so that standing in the outside made it look like the whole world was inside the house and you were outside the world.

Interesting to note that this idea seems to have a common origin in the UK.

This phenomenon is most easily noticed in the real world in Japanese cars. On the outside, they look as if they could contain 2.5 children and a small dog, perhaps a pug or toy poodle. However, upon entering the car--all the time fearing that your back will snap like a toothpick due to the seemingly impossible angle you believe your body will need to make--the realization comes that the car is hardly as small as it looks from the outside. In fact, you might think "Wow! This is pretty damn roomy!" When you exit the car, you will notice that it still looks tiny and toy-like, and either your brain will implode or you'll just shrug it off. Of course, to those of us in the scientific community, we understand that this is due to Japanese shrink ray technology, but that's another node.

Japanese shrink ray technology revolves around the hypothesis that Japanese cars that are sent to non-Asian countries include a device to decrease and increase the size of driver and passengers as they enter and exit the car. It is a reference to some comedian from days of yore, but I can't think of who said it for the life of me. If you know, a /msg would really be appreciated.

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