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Science

Simulations Back Up Theory That Universe Is a Hologram 433

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-the-star-trek-kind dept.
ananyo writes "A team of physicists has provided some of the clearest evidence yet that our Universe could be just one big projection. In 1997, theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena proposed that an audacious model of the Universe in which gravity arises from infinitesimally thin, vibrating strings could be reinterpreted in terms of well-established physics. The mathematically intricate world of strings, which exist in nine dimensions of space plus one of time, would be merely a hologram: the real action would play out in a simpler, flatter cosmos where there is no gravity. Maldacena's idea thrilled physicists because it offered a way to put the popular but still unproven theory of strings on solid footing — and because it solved apparent inconsistencies between quantum physics and Einstein's theory of gravity. It provided physicists with a mathematical Rosetta stone, a 'duality', that allowed them to translate back and forth between the two languages, and solve problems in one model that seemed intractable in the other and vice versa. But although the validity of Maldacena's ideas has pretty much been taken for granted ever since, a rigorous proof has been elusive. In two papers posted on the arXiv repository, Yoshifumi Hyakutake of Ibaraki University in Japan and his colleagues now provide, if not an actual proof, at least compelling evidence that Maldacena's conjecture is true."
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Simulations Back Up Theory That Universe Is a Hologram

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  • Re:wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ganjadude (952775) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @04:36PM (#45663547) Homepage
    I hate to tell you but not all scientists are doctors, and also cancer is not the only issue that is affecting us today. The more we understand about the universe, the more we understand about ourselves.

    In other words, what are YOU doing to cure cancer since you think that "scientists" should focus on cancer instead of XX.
  • Re:wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by peon_a-z,A-Z,0-9$_+! (2743031) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @04:37PM (#45663557)

    why oh why are scientists wasting time on this? one step at at time, for now figure out how to cure cancer before worrying about the big picture. you must unzip your pants before worrying about how much piss comes out

    Really???? If all "scientists" thought like that then we wouldn't be in a position to even KNOW what *cancer* is. We'd be stuck on a problem prior to that hundreds of years ago.

    Science is all about looking far and wide for answers. Sometimes things are immediately applicable to your specific problem/condition/annoyance/life, but sometimes they aren't.

    Applied science / engineering is more about solutions to your specific problem. Perhaps you can go ask the bio-medical engineers to hurry it up, but leave the scientists alone!

  • Re:wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spy Handler (822350) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @04:37PM (#45663559) Homepage Journal

    why are you wasting time reading Slashdot? Millions of children are dying in Africa as we speak. You must go help them before worrying about anything else.

  • by Common Joe (2807741) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @04:51PM (#45663733) Journal

    I read the FTA and I didn't get any proof that we were living in a simulation at all. The article basically says some physicists ran two simulations for a black hole -- one with quantum theory (single dimension) and the other with a (more traditional) 10-dimensional model. The results matched.

    Several take aways: 1) Great work by the physicists 2) I thought the standard models had eleven dimensions and not ten 3) I still don't know what they are talking about because this stuff is way beyond me 4) There is no mention about whether this proves one way or another that our universe is a hologram or a simulation.

    The FTA is throwing around the word hologram, but IMHO that is a bit a stretch. Or maybe I don't know the official scientific definition of a hologram.

  • Re:Horseshit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @04:52PM (#45663737) Homepage Journal

    Holograms are not projected 'onto' something.
    They 'materialize' in thin air, that is the point about a hologram. (Hollow != Solid)

  • by DexterIsADog (2954149) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @04:52PM (#45663739)
    Oh, nonsense. The Matrix is not an accurate description of this theory, and Plato's metaphor is only coincidentally similar in outline to it.

    Your point is like people who say, "the Old Testament forbids the eating of shellfish like shrimp, and we know now that shrimp is high in cholesterol, so that book is an excellent source of dietary wisdom."
  • Re:Horseshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nemyst (1383049) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @04:52PM (#45663743) Homepage
    You do realize that quantum mechanics were met with similar derision? Heck, Einstein never really accepted the notion, and that's as great a scientist as we've ever had. It took years to devise experiments that could validate quantum mechanics' existence.

    This isn't to say that this theory is right or wrong, merely that groundbreaking theories almost invariably will look like "mathematical fancy" to most people (especially those with "get off my lawn!" syndrome) and will be met with confusion or denial by a lot of others, including respected scientists. It's crazy, but it might just work. Remember: the universe wasn't designed so that our puny minds would find it logical or straightforward. It just is.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @04:53PM (#45663749)

    I can move in an infinite* number of directions, but in 3D space I can put in one point only 3 lines which are perpendicular to each other.

    If we have more dimensions, we just replace the word "perpendicular" with "orthogonal".

    --
    * Or a very very high number if space is finite & discrete.

  • by Kielistic (1273232) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @04:56PM (#45663783)
    I think it's more probable that you just have no idea what you're talking about.
  • by hopffiber (3460857) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @05:15PM (#45663969)
    So, the headline is quite wrong. Nothing in this work has directly to do with our universe, nor does it show that we live in a hologram. What it does do is provide some further evidence for a string theory conjecture called AdS/CFT. This conjecture says that "string theory in d dimensions" is precisely the same as "conformal field theory in d-1 dimensions". This is cute, since it lets us calculate some things, for example, one might be interested in calculating something in some field theory, but it is very difficult to do. AdS/CFT lets us translate that thing into a string theory thing, which usually is easier to compute. So people working in condensed matter physics, particle physics and QCD are actually using this string theory conjecture as a computational tool. However, AdS/CFT tells us nothing about our universe, since we know that the type of string theories it talks about can't describe our universe. So it is "only" a useful toy model and computational tool. The article is about that some guys have run computer simulations to calculate something on both sides, so both on the string side, and in the field theory side, and what they get match, as it should if the conjecture is true. This is nice and lends further evidence to the conjecture, but there is plenty of other evidence already known, both numerical and theoretical. So I fail to see how this is important or newsworthy, it feels mostly like useless hype.
  • by suutar (1860506) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @06:29PM (#45664793)
    I can see your point, but as long as it makes predictions I'm willing to keep it in a separate category.
  • by CapOblivious2010 (1731402) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @07:00PM (#45665185)

    One can manipulate math to to describe or answer pretty much anything you want. Just because the equations match what's happening does not mean they describe what's going on.

    Who cares? As long as the equations match what's happening (and what's going to happen), does it matter what's "really" going on? We've been doing quantum mechanics for almost a century now, and still no one actually knows what it all means - but we're perfectly happy to take advantage of QM in our technology.

  • by suutar (1860506) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @07:12PM (#45665325)
    Certainly, you can describe anything with equations, and you can come up with multiple mathematical descriptions that match what you know. But they'll make different predictions, which can be tested, and that's where the value of generating a mathematical description is. If you're not looking for predictions you can just say "that's the way it is," skip the math, and move on to something else.
  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @08:37PM (#45666237)

    no, it is not. Not by any stretch.

    All you post tells me is tat you don't know what science is; or possible, but unlikely, what religion is..

    Actually, for most lay people, science and religion are very similar as they both require one to accept things on the faith or testimony of others. Very few people have actually done the calculations or proofs or expirments themself, instead relying on what has been passed down to them by the high priests. That is just as true for science as religion, with the exception that when dealing with science we don't use the term "high priests," but instead some other term, but the process is the same. Those with special insight pass on the belief system to the next generation.

    Not all religions have a deity, but all religions have a belief system. So, too, does science.

  • by haruchai (17472) on Wednesday December 11, 2013 @09:45PM (#45666791)

    At some point, science has to put forth something that's not only consistent but testable. Religion appears to be exempt from that troublesome requirement.
    And a scientific theory can be falsified by new evidence. Religion, not so much.

    As for science having a "belief system", I strongly suggest you not attempt to "disbelieve" in gravity while near the edge of a high building or in electromagnetism while sticking an uninsulated conductor into a live socket.

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