Variables & Dimensions (total noob)

In summary, I don't think we need all of those dimensions to describe a particle. We only need 4, as far as I understand it.
  • #1
5
0
So, I have some questions regarding 'dimensions' and 'parameters' in physics. (there are differences in the meaning between physics and mathematics, as far as I understand it)
----
As far as I understand it, we live in a 4-dimensional world, consisting of 3 space and 1 time dimensions. Yet we combine them to form 4 dimensions of spacetime?

Does this mean that we only need 4 points to describe where a particle is?
If so, that raises (at least to me) the following question:
----
What are the amount of variables needed to completely describe a particle? Is that even possible?
It would seem to me you need more information than just these 4 dimensions to describe something fully. Namely not only where it is, but also what it is.
So what else do we need? Mass, probably? Charge? What else? Can we even assign these things, or do they only appear in relation to other objects? Can we describe a particle fully? If not, what is the maximum amount of information we can have about a particle at any given time?
----
Now, let's assume we could describe a particle fully and completely with just 6 variables. 3 for space, 1 for time, 1 for charge and 1 for mass.

What is then the difference between space & time on the one hand, and charge & mass on the other? What makes space & time dimensions, but the other's not?
----

I hope somebody a little smarter than I can explain these things to me, or explain to me why I am not asking the right questions if that's the case.
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
Physical theories apply to certain aspects of the world, not to all aspects of it at once. When a aspects of a physical system are analyzed, the analysis defines what a "state" of the physical system is. In some physical theories, the definition of "state" says you need to specify only 6 variables per particle. I don't think such theories can completely explain the behavior of atomic particles.

Sometimes technical terms convey technical meanings and sometimes they are just a result of tradition and culture. For example, in mathematics, the "dimension" of a vector space has a different definition that the "dimension" of a fractal object, but historically speaking, one definition motivated the other one. An explanation of why certain variables are "dimensions" can be a question of linguistics and the history of science. I don't know the historical background for why certain variables are traditionally called "dimensions" in various theories.

To pose your question precisely, you need to specify which physical theory or theories you are talking about. To say you are talking about "the real world" doesn't say which specific theory of it you are asking about.
 
  • #3
Stephen Tashi said:
To pose your question precisely, you need to specify which physical theory or theories you are talking about. To say you are talking about "the real world" doesn't say which specific theory of it you are asking about.

Such as?

Standard model. Does that qualify?
If not, then what theories exactly do you mean?

(If this is about the fact that I posted in 'beyond the standard model', that is solely because on similar forums where I have posted in the past, general models were for serious questions about physics and the maths behind it, and forum sections such as this one more about philosophy and questions for uninformed people like myself. If this was wrong I apologize)
 
  • #4
Presumably, at least one day, the only other properties we will need to specify about a point are the values of the four fundamental forces. I am no expert but it seems to me, the nature of fundamental forces is that all other physical properties can be derived from those.
 
  • #5
DaveC426913 said:
Presumably, at least one day, the only other properties we will need to specify about a point are the values of the four fundamental forces. I am no expert but it seems to me, that's the nature of fundamental forces.

Yes, thank you. That was exactly what I was thinking too. Well, those and the 4 dimensions of spacetime. Or don't we need those?
Because again, if that is the case, what is then the difference between these 4 dimensions and these 4 forces? Is the difference purely semantics, to better explain their 'use' in our everyday life?
 
  • #6
wubs23 said:
Yes, thank you. That was exactly what I was thinking too. Well, those and the 4 dimensions of spacetime. Or don't we need those?
Because again, if that is the case, what is then the difference between these 4 dimensions and these 4 forces? Is the difference purely semantics, to better explain their 'use' in our everyday life?
I am a little outside my comfort zone here, so take what I say with a grain of NaCl, but it seems you'd need all 8 parameters: 4 space-time coordinates and 4 force values.
 
  • Like
Likes wubs23
  • #8
DennisN said:
so it does not reflect the Higgs detections in 2014)
Sorry, wrong year haha, I should have said "2012".
 

What are variables and dimensions?

Variables and dimensions are both concepts used in scientific research to describe and measure different aspects of a phenomenon or system. Variables are factors that can change or vary, while dimensions refer to different aspects or characteristics of a variable that can be measured.

How do variables and dimensions affect scientific research?

Variables and dimensions are crucial components of scientific research as they help scientists understand and quantify the relationship between different factors and the overall outcome. By manipulating and measuring variables and dimensions, scientists can draw conclusions and make predictions about their research topic.

What is the difference between independent and dependent variables?

An independent variable is a factor that is manipulated or controlled by the researcher, while a dependent variable is the outcome or result that is being measured. In other words, the dependent variable depends on the independent variable.

How many dimensions can a variable have?

A variable can have multiple dimensions, depending on the complexity of the phenomenon being studied. For example, a variable such as "temperature" can have dimensions like time, location, and magnitude.

Can variables and dimensions be controlled in an experiment?

Yes, in an experiment, variables and dimensions can be controlled by the researcher to test the relationship between different factors. This allows for a more controlled and systematic approach to studying a phenomenon and drawing conclusions about cause and effect.

Suggested for: Variables & Dimensions (total noob)

Replies
5
Views
2K
Replies
2
Views
2K
Replies
6
Views
1K
Replies
3
Views
1K
Replies
2
Views
1K
Replies
2
Views
1K
Replies
2
Views
1K
Replies
7
Views
983
Replies
4
Views
2K
Replies
2
Views
2K
Back
Top