We naturally conceive of three spatial dimensions, yet envisioning more becomes a challenge to our imagination. To understand these complexities, even physical theories rely on specific tricks. Just as three-dimensional objects cast two-dimensional shadows, four-dimensional entities translate into three-dimensional forms. When a four-dimensional body rotates, its three-dimensional shadow seems to invert. Here, that abstract notion is made a visible reality.
This sculpture, Round About Four Dimensions, represents a “hypercube”, “four-cube” or “tesseract”, often cited in mathematical and physical theories to illustrate concepts beyond three spatial dimensions. This three-dimensional revolving motion is a projection of a four-dimensional rotation, a phenomenon we cannot fully grasp. This previously intangible concept is brought to life by the kinetic tesseract sculpture, which wraps endlessly around itself. It reminds us of the boundaries of our understanding and concepts we struggle to wrap our heads around. While this object may not provide answers, it invites CERN’s visitors to ponder the complexity of the Universe.
Round About Four Dimensions was commissioned by Arts at CERN for the exhibition Exploring the Unknown at the CERN Science Gateway, CERN’s new education and outreach centre.