Higher dimensional squircles

The previous post looked at what exponent makes the area of a squircle midway between the area of a square and circle of the same radius. We could ask the analogous question in three dimensions, or in any dimension.

(Is a shape between a cube and a sphere a cuere?)

In more conventional mathematical terminology, higher dimensional squircles are balls under Lp norms. The unit ball in n dimensions under the Lp norm has volume

2^n \frac{\Gamma\left(1 + \frac{1}{p}\right)^n}{\Gamma\left( 1 + \frac{n}{p} \right)}

We’re asking to solve for p so the volume of a p-norm ball is midway between that of 2-norm ball and an ∞-norm ball. We can compute this with the following Mathematica code.

    v[p_, n_] := 2^n Gamma[1 + 1/p]^n / Gamma[1 + n/p]
    Table[ 
        FindRoot[
            v[p, n] - (2^n + v[2, n])/2, 
            {p, 3}
        ], 
        {n, 2, 10}
    ]

This shows that the value of p increases steadily with dimension:

    3.16204
    3.43184
    3.81881
    4.33311
    4.96873
    5.70408
    6.51057
    7.36177
    8.23809

We saw the value 3.16204 in the previous post. The result for three dimensions is 3.43184, etc.

In order to keep the total volume midway between that of a cube and a sphere, p has to increase with dimension, making each 2-D cross section more and more like a square.