A dimension of space beyond normal space. Used by many SF writers as a theoretical method of traveling faster than light.

Hyperspace plays a prominent role in the Star Wars and Babylon 5 stories. The Star Trek universe has the concept of subspace, which is similar but not identical.

Term encompassing all the weird and wonderful higher-dimensional theories that theoretical physicists can come up with. Can refer to the concept of there being further spatial or temporal dimensions beyond the normal three spatial ones - ie can be lots of dimensions of space, or dimensions of actual space plus that of time. Not a term used by theorists, apparently - more of a popular term.

As well as the spaces which have been imagined by mathematicians for some time, of geometry in however many dimensions, can refer to Kaluza-Klein theory, supergravity, or superstring theories. These latter theories address deficiencies of the Standard Model, although that isn't necessarily wrong, with the concept of supersymmetry. Adding squarks, sleptons, etc. to the mound of itty-bitty particles floating about. But many physicists like them because they are rather beautiful theories, as they make things simpler by adding dimensions.

Cool Implications

With several spatial dimensions, you can imagine us corresponding to two-dimensional people living on a surface in a three-dimensional world, as in the book Flatland. If you think of the universe as analogous to a doughnut (it isn't though, as the universe is flat), but in four dimensions - a four dimensional doughnut with a three dimensional surface perhaps - and small enough, you might see somebody looking just like you, with their back turned to you. If you put your hand on their shoulder, you would feel a hand on yours - the person ahead of you is yourself!

Anyway, I find stuff like that cool. I read a lot about that in Hyperspace by Michio Kaku. I hope I understood it enough so that what I just said was vaugely correct.

In Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, hyperspace is a alternate universe which has no dimensions. You move between this universe and hyperspace in between moments, however, the larger the jump, the more inaccurate it's going to be. Also, jumping within the gravity pull of a star causes pain.

hungus = H = hysterical reasons

hyperspace /hi:'per-spays/ n.

A memory location that is far away from where the program counter should be pointing, especially a place that is inaccessible because it is not even mapped in by the virtual-memory system. "Another core dump -- looks like the program jumped off to hyperspace somehow." (Compare jump off into never-never land.) This usage is from the SF notion of a spaceship jumping `into hyperspace', that is, taking a shortcut through higher-dimensional space -- in other words, bypassing this universe. The variant `east hyperspace' is recorded among CMU and Bliss hackers.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

Hyperspace by Michio Kaku, published by Anchor Books/Doubleday in 1994, is subtitled "A scientific odyssey through parallel universes, time warps, and the 10th dimension." Indeed it does cover it all but I feel that it glosses over quite a bit because each of these topics could be made into a book. These ideas are attractive to science fiction buffs and it seems that Kaku has intended to tap into this audience.

The book starts with visualization of dimensions. Much reference is made to Flatland by Abbot. There is a segment on various ways to represent 4 spatial dimesions in 3. We then start into a description of the standard model of the universe consisting of Einstein's space-time curvature, Maxwell's laws of electromagnetism and quantum mechanics.

The presentation is in historical order and includes a summary of current promising theoretical work to extend the standard model to a grand unified theory and eventually the theory of everything: supersymmetry; String theory; Supergravity. Here, Kaku emphasizes theorectical because there is no way to experimentally test many of the points at which these different theories diverge. Kaku strongly advocates the construction of the superconducting supercollider for experimental confirmation of these newly generated ideas.

Finally we come to the speculative stuff: parallel universes, the interior of blackholes, wormholes, time travel. This part left me unsatisfied because the treatment of these felt superficial. The book also picks up themes from Sagan's Cosmos: extra-terrestrial intelligence, the end of the universe.

The style of writing in the book varies. There are some good explanations about the mathematics at the start. However, towards the end, the text becomes breezy and even hokey on occasion:

When Captain Kirk takes us soaring through hyperspace at "warp factor 5," the "Dilithium crystals" that power the Enterprise must perform miraculous feats of warping space and time. This means that the dilitium crystals have the magical power of bending the space-time continuum into pretzels; that is, they are tremendous storehouses of matter and energy.

If the Enterprise travels from the earth to the nearest star, it does not physically move to Alpha Centauri - rather, Alpha Centauri comes to the Enterprise. Imagine sitting on a rug and lassoing a table several feet away. If we are strong enough and the floor is slick enough, we can pull the lasso until the carpet begins to fold underneath us. If we pull hard enough, the table comes to us, and the "distance" between the table and us disappears into a mass of crumpled carpeting. Then we simply hop across this "carpet warp". (p.227)

Reading this book felt like eating chinese food, you find yourself hungry for more an hour later. I think that the reader's enjoyment of this book is inversely proportional to their familiarity with the subject matter. It is a grand tour of physics-philosophy boundry and an excellent introduction to field of cosmology. However, there is not enough time at each stop and also, being 10 years old, new developments have taken place such as Spontaneous Localization theory.

Hy"per*space (?), n. [Pref. hyper- + space.] Geom.

An imagined space having more than three dimensions.


© Webster 1913.

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