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Fermilab To Test Holographic Universe Theory 166

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-some-answers dept.
eldavojohn writes "Scientists at Fermilab have decided that it's high time they build a 'holometer' to test the smoothness of space-time. Theoretical physicists like Stephen Hawking have proposed that space-time is not smooth but it's been a lot of math and no actual data. The Fermilab team plans to build two relatively small devices that act as 'holographic interferometers' to measure the shaking or vibration in split beams of light traveling through a vacuum. If the team finds the shaking in their measurements and records them, the theory of a holographic universe will have some evidence of non-smoothness in space-time and perhaps a foothold in bringing light to the heavily debated theoretical physics."
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Fermilab To Test Holographic Universe Theory

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  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Thursday October 21, 2010 @07:08AM (#33972042)
    FTA: “People trying to tie reality together don’t have any data, just a lot of beautiful math,” said Hogan. “The hope is that this gives them something to work with.”

    Everything they will use to explain 'reality' will be done with beautiful math. It will be difficult to prove theories and provide data about the structure of the Universe doing a highly-controlled experiment on planet Earth. I'm not saying that research like this shouldn't be done, but will anyone ever be able to provide solid 'data' about the universe conducting experiments on Earth? I would think you would have to do experiments in other environments, other than on Earth. All of the results of these experiments will have to allow for a large amount of beautiful math and a wonderful imagination.
  • by lxs (131946) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @07:14AM (#33972064)

    The best part of experiment are the unexpected results. Look at what happened when Michelson and Morley tried to measure the Earth's speed relative to the aether.

  • by Jugalator (259273) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @07:21AM (#33972104) Journal

    I'm not saying that research like this shouldn't be done, but will anyone ever be able to provide solid 'data' about the universe conducting experiments on Earth?

    The experiment in the article attempt to do so.
    Why do you doubt their ability to provide data sets on how the universe works on Earth?

    I would think you would have to do experiments in other environments, other than on Earth.

    Because photons travel differently in other enviroments than Earth?

  • by sorak (246725) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @08:07AM (#33972430)

    That would be interesting, but shouldn't we perform them on Earth first? If we're wrong on Earth, then we're wrong everywhere*. So, why not have a first run here, where it's cheaper?

    * Even if the experiment would have gone exactly as they predicted, had it been conducted in space, being wrong on Earth would imply that their model is not entirely accurate.

    (DISCLAIMER: If I sound like a lawyer, scientist, or someone important, please note that I am not and do not know what I'm talking about half the time.)

  • by swamp_ig (466489) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @08:16AM (#33972510)

    The holographic universe theory comes from work by Gerardus 't Hooft. Sure Hawking did some work on it as well, can't they say Gerardus 't Hooft *and* Hawking?

    I guess it's a consequence of small pools...

  • by Pragmataraxia (1617857) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @09:11AM (#33973038)

    Because photons travel differently in other enviroments(sic) than Earth?

    Yes. Otherwise your apparatus has to be large enough to maintain constant internal pressure (preferably 0), AND span your theorized bumps in spacetime. I don't know how large these ripples are, or how far apart they expect to find them, but I would expect they're going to need to span more distance than would be practical on Earth.

  • Re:Physicists (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Flambergius (55153) * on Thursday October 21, 2010 @09:32AM (#33973268)

    Computers evolve at an increasing rate. At somebody, not that far into the future if you compare it to the age of the universe, you will have computers to run a simulated universe that contains autonomous agents to whom the universe appears real. A few years later you can run two simulations on parallel on one machine. A couple decades after that you can run about a million such simulations at once. A few years more after that it's a few million believable, internally consistent universes running in parallel on a single computer. So given Moore's law you will eventually end up with a single physical universe and hugely many simulated universes.

    Question: isn't it much more likely that we exist in one of the simulated universes instead of the original one?
     

  • by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:22AM (#33974926) Journal

    The whole hypothesis is that the universe is a _digital_ hologram. As in, literally, the information is encoded in _pixels_. And there is a rather serious possible implication that the universe might be a digital simulation.

    I dunno. It kinda seems natural that if someone wrote a digital simulation, they would be a programmer, and running whatever machine does it would make them an admin. I mean, really, the setup doesn't exactly leave many other options available even if I wanted to take the piss in a different way.

  • by smaddox (928261) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @06:41PM (#33981352)

    The whole problem with the "the universe is a simulation" gig is that it doesn't answer any questions or solve any problems. It's just one more turtle on the stack. Sure, it might be true, Occam's Razor says it's not very likely.

    A commenter posted something on here a few months ago that I thought was extremely insightful:

    Any chain of logic (or causality) must either extend forever and ever, or stop at something that just 'is', and both options are nonsensical. (This is equally true whether or not any of the links in the chain are God)." - Slashdot comment http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1774738&cid=33449910 [slashdot.org] by http://slashdot.org/~timeOday [slashdot.org]

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