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Is there a 0D shape?

The concept of dimensionality in geometry refers to the number of coordinates needed to specify a point in space. The most familiar dimensions are the three spatial dimensions of length, width, and height which allow us to locate objects in 3D space. Points, lines, planes, and 3D objects like cubes are described by 1D, 2D, 3D, and 3D spaces respectively. This begs the question – is there such a thing as a 0-dimensional (0D) shape?

What does 0 dimensions mean?

By definition, a point has 0 dimensions. A point indicates a location in space but has no length, width or height. It requires 0 numbers to specify its position. So a point is a 0D object. However, there is debate around whether a point should be considered a shape or not. Some mathematicians argue that calling a point a shape is misleading since it has no actual area or volume. It is simply a coordinate location.

Alternatively, we could think of a point as the most basic building block of geometric shapes. Lines are made up of points, planes are made up of lines, and volumes are made up of planes. In this sense, a point qualifies as a 0D shape. Even though it takes up no physical space, it has a defined mathematical location.

Overall, there is no consensus on whether a point counts as a true geometric shape or not. It exists in a mathematical 0D space, but does not have physical dimensions. The answer may come down to how you define “shape.”

What are some examples of 0D shapes/objects?

Here are some mathematical constructs that could be considered 0D shapes or objects:

  • Point – A coordinate location in space defined by 0 numbers.
  • Vertex – The corner point where two lines meet.
  • Node – An intersection point on a graph or tree diagram.
  • Singularity – A point where a mathematical function becomes undefined.
  • Pixel – A single point of color on a digital image.

These constructs all represent singular positional points with no area or volume. Whether we technically consider them shapes or not is up for debate.

What are the properties of a 0D “shape”?

Here are some mathematical properties of 0D objects:

  • Occupy a single point in space
  • Have an exact coordinate location
  • Have no length, width, or height
  • Have an undefined area and volume (specifically 0)
  • Require 0 numbers to identify their position
  • Can be described as the intersection between lines or planes
  • Serve as the building blocks for higher-dimensional shapes

Interestingly, 0D shapes do have some geometric properties like position, even though they take up no physical space. They provide the foundation for more complex shapes and spaces.

Can points exist in real life?

In theory, a 0D point with no dimensions cannot physically exist. However, there are some real-world analogs we can consider:

  • A laser point – Appears as a dot of light, but still takes up space.
  • The tip of a pencil – Has some width in reality.
  • A pixel on a screen – Smallest unit of the display.
  • A particle like an electron – Fundamental building block of matter.
  • A star in the night sky – Appears point-like from Earth.

These objects approximate the mathematical concept of a dimensionless point, but still have some physical area or volume. True 0D points likely only exist in abstraction, not reality.

How are points used in math and physics?

Here are some ways 0D point constructs are applied in mathematics and physics:

  • Defining coordinate systems and plotting graphs
  • Representing vertices and nodes in geometry
  • Finding intersection points between functions/lines
  • Specifying particle locations in space and time
  • Studying event horizons and singularities in cosmology
  • Modeling pixel locations in digital image processing
  • Analyzing networks and relationships between entities

Even though they lack dimensions, points are a fundamental building block of mathematical models. They set up coordinate systems, connect more complex structures, and provide quantitative positional information.

Can a 0D object have properties like color?

Strictly speaking, a mathematical point has only positional properties and no additional attributes like color. However, in conceptual or applied contexts, we can imagine a 0D point having additional properties:

  • A plotted point on a graph with a different color.
  • A pixel on a screen with an RGB color value.
  • A vertex in a network diagram labeled with a category.
  • A particle with properties like mass or charge.

By attaching color, labels, or other attributes to a point, we can represent additional information at that coordinate location. This can help visualize and distinguish between different 0D objects.

Can two 0D points occupy the same location?

Within standard Euclidean geometry, two distinct points are not allowed to occupy the exact same coordinates in space. This would violate the fundamental assumptions and cause issues like dividing by zero in calculations.

However, in certain advanced mathematical constructs like projective geometry, it is possible to define a line or system where different points overlap in the same location:

  • The polar coordinates theta = 0 and theta = 2pi locate the same point.
  • In a radial projection, every point maps to the origin.
  • Collapsing dimensions can map separate points to the same coordinate.

So while distinct 0D points cannot normally overlap, some complex mathematical transformations can force or allow this to happen in special cases. This illustrates the intricate nuances of point locations and spaces.

Can a 0D point turn into a line or shape?

A true mathematical point with no dimensions cannot directly transform into a line or higher-dimensional shape. However, we can conceive sequences where a point extends into other objects:

  • A line can be built by connecting sequential points.
  • A plane is comprised of a set of lines.
  • Extruding a plane creates a 3D object.
  • Zooming in on a pixel reveals it has area.

In this way, points serve as the seeds or origins from which more complex geometric entities grow. So a point can initiate and define the first location of higher dimensional constructs through mathematical transformations.

Does time qualify as a 0D dimension?

Time is sometimes described as the “fourth dimension.” However, there are a few key differences between time and spatial dimensions:

  • Time has only one direction (forward)
  • You can move freely in spatial dimensions, but not time.
  • Time is not orthogonal/perpendicular to spatial dimensions.

For these reasons, many physicists argue that time should not be considered a true spatial dimension. An instant or point in time can however be viewed as a 0D construct. Just like points in space, time points have no length or duration. They simply mark a moment within the timeline. So individual time points could qualify as 0D, but time as a whole may not constitute a full extra dimension.

Can a 0D object exist in non-Euclidean spaces?

Non-Euclidean geometries like hyperbolic, elliptical, and projective spaces follow different axioms than classic Euclidean geometry. In these exotic mathematical spaces, some normal Euclidean rules are bent or broken:

  • Parallel lines can intersect.
  • Angles of triangles don’t sum to 180 degrees.
  • Lines can be curved instead of straight.

Interestingly though, the concept of a 0D point remains valid across non-Euclidean systems. Points still indicate coordinate locations even if the overall space warps in unusual ways. So 0D points do seem to generalize into non-Euclidean geometries. They provide a stable anchor as the higher-dimensional surface transforms.


While its status as a true “shape” is debatable, a 0D point has mathematical meaning and applications. As the most basic building block of geometry, points provide a foundation for specifying locations and defining more complex objects. They help model the world with quantitative precision. So even if they defy our intuition about shapes, 0D points find use across fields like mathematics, physics, and computing.