3rd February 2020 – Astronomy in Flatland

Dr Colin Steele, from the Manchester University School of Mathematics will talk to us about how a two dimensional universe – known as Flatland – would work. This is an extract from Dr Steele’s website:

“In 1885, Edwin Abbott published a book called ‘Flatland’ which was about a two-dimensional world. The ‘hero’ was Mr A Square and other inhabitants included triangles, hexagons etc. Other authors have produced different variations on a two-dimensional universe. Such universes can be extended to include astronomy and this talk considers what astronomy would be like in a 2-dimensional universe. One significant change is that gravity is not inverse-square but is instead simply inversely proportional to distance. The shapes of orbits are different as a result. This talk will consider many aspects of astronomy in a 2-dimensional universe including orbits, seasons, eclipses, meteors, aurora etc. The talk will conclude by considering universes with alternative numbers of dimensions, 4-dimensional, 1-dimensional and 0-dimensional. It can be concluded that, other that the 3-dimensional universe, the two-dimensional is most interesting.”

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