*World of Mathematics*. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.

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## Dimension

One of the most misunderstood concepts in mathematics, dimension is a central concept in modern **geometry**, **topology**, **algebra**, and the theory of **fractals**. To make matters even more complicated, each of these branches of mathematics has its own version of dimension (or even several versions).

In simplest terms, the dimension of a mathematical object is the number of independent parameters required to describe that object. It is well known that the dimension of a line is 1, the dimension of a plane is 2, and the dimension of **space** is 3. For example, any point in space can be described by three coordinates; a box in space is described by three parameters, its height, width and depth.

However, most people have difficulty imagining dimensions larger than 3; it is sometimes asserted that "The fourth dimension is time." As a statement about our physical universe, this may be correct; as a mathematical statement...

This section contains 524 words(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page) |