3-sphere

while the 4-dimensional hypervolume (the content of the 4-dimensional region bounded by the 3-sphere) is

Every non-empty intersection of a 3-sphere with a three-dimensional hyperplane is a 2-sphere (unless the hyperplane is tangent to the 3-sphere, in which case the intersection is a single point). As a 3-sphere moves through a given three-dimensional hyperplane, the intersection starts out as a point, then becomes a growing 2-sphere that reaches its maximal size when the hyperplane cuts right through the "equator" of the 3-sphere. Then the 2-sphere shrinks again down to a single point as the 3-sphere leaves the hyperplane.

In a given three-dimensional hyperplane, a 3-sphere can rotate about an "equatorial plane" (analogous to a 2-sphere rotating about a central axis), in which case it appears to be a 2-sphere whose size is constant.

There are several well-known constructions of the three-sphere. Here we describe gluing a pair of three-balls and then the one-point compactification.

Note that the interiors of the 3-balls are not glued to each other. One way to think of the fourth dimension is as a continuous real-valued function of the 3-dimensional coordinates of the 3-ball, perhaps considered to be "temperature". We take the "temperature" to be zero along the gluing 2-sphere and let one of the 3-balls be "hot" and let the other 3-ball be "cold". The "hot" 3-ball could be thought of as the "upper hemisphere" and the "cold" 3-ball could be thought of as the "lower hemisphere". The temperature is highest/lowest at the centers of the two 3-balls.

This construction is analogous to a construction of a 2-sphere, performed by gluing the boundaries of a pair of disks. A disk is a 2-ball, and the boundary of a disk is a circle (a 1-sphere). Let a pair of disks be of the same diameter. Superpose them and glue corresponding points on their boundaries. Again one may think of the third dimension as temperature. Likewise, we may inflate the 2-sphere, moving the pair of disks to become the northern and southern hemispheres.

After removing a single point from the 2-sphere, what remains is homeomorphic to the Euclidean plane. In the same way, removing a single point from the 3-sphere yields three-dimensional space. An extremely useful way to see this is via stereographic projection. We first describe the lower-dimensional version.

The exponential map for 3-sphere is similarly constructed; it may also be discussed using the fact that the 3-sphere is the Lie group of unit quaternions.