A short discourse on topology.

I’m making granola at the moment. As I was stirring it, I started thinking about hypershapes, shapes in more than three dimensions.

Imagine for a moment that the granola in your nine-inch by thirteen inch pan is a solid blob. Now, the goal is to turn it so that the part that’s in the center gets to the outside, so it cooks evenly, and the outer part goes somewhat inside, so it doesn’t burn.

Now, since it’s granola, that’s pretty possible. The optimum way of stirring that I’ve found is to push the edge in, then roll the top layer into the gap, and repeat all the way around, paying attention that nothing gets left behind.

Now imagine doing that without disturbing the surface. That’s what doing it in four dimensions might be like.