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Fermilab Begins Testing Holographic Universe Theory 247

Back in 2009, researchers theorized that space could be a hologram. Four years ago, Fermilab proposed testing the theory, and the experiment is finally going online. Jason Koebler writes Operating with cutting-edge technology out of a trailer in rural Illinois, government researchers started today on a set of experiments that they say will help them determine whether or not you and me and everything that exists are living in a two-dimensional holographic universe. In a paper explaining the theory, Craig Hogan, director of the Department of Energy's Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics writes that "some properties of space and time that seem fundamental, including localization [where things are], may actually emerge only as a macroscopic approximation from the flow of information in a quantum system." In other words, the location of places in space may constantly fluctuate ever so slightly, which would suggest we're living in a hologram.
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Fermilab Begins Testing Holographic Universe Theory

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  • Re:What next (Score:4, Informative)

    by mAineAc ( 580334 ) <> on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @08:57AM (#47764223) Homepage
    Perhaps the holograph is a side affect of quantum relationships. Just because we are a holograph doesn't mean that someone made it.
  • Just a thought (Score:5, Informative)

    by alaskana98 ( 1509139 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @09:34AM (#47764471)
    Upon reading the research summary, I don't see anywhere where it implies that we are in a simulation. I think they are just proposing that the fundamental construction of reality is 2D but is ultimately 'projected' as 3D due to quantum effect. At least that is the way I interpret this, I could be wrong though.
  • Much Confusion (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fuseboy ( 414663 ) on Wednesday August 27, 2014 @10:42AM (#47764953) Homepage

    There's a lot of confusion about what this means, but to be clear: this has nothing to do with ghostly 3D things floating in a surrounding room.

    What it's saying is that the 3D nature of the universe might be only approximate. Let's say you (somehow) come up with a two-dimensional universe and physical laws, in which you can mostly accurately (but not completely) calculate the ongoing evolution of a 3D universe. The "mostly accurately" part translates into a slight blurriness, a fuzziness of the 3D world, but it occurs at such small scales that nobody will notice.

    Such models have been created theoretically - not long ago some bright spark concocted a ten-dimensional universe that had relativity and spatial deformations and whatnot, but which was mathematically equivalent to a one-dimensional universe that did not.

    This experiment is looking for the blurriness.

    Now, the story of how this got started is fascinating. Some other bright spark was investigating entropy (chaos), and in particular was interested in the maximum amount of chaos that could be contained in a three-dimensional volume. In a sense, this is like asking the maximum information density of a volume.

    Somewhat bizarrely, the equation for the maximum entropy is proportional to the surface area of the volume. This is really weird, and important. The maximum amount of information you can cram into a space is limited by the space's surface area, not its volume.

    The implication of this is that you could characterize the entire state of a 3D volume with a membrane. This has been proposed as one solution to the black hole information paradox - black holes are a place of no return, and so they seem to violate the law that information (like energy) can't be created or destroyed. The solution is this: as particles enter the black hole, you get tiny peturbations (bulges, dimples, ripples) in the black hole's event horizon. The idea is that the entire state of that particle retained in these peturbations as they play across the event horizon. The information isn't lost, it's just encoded in this 2D form.

    This leads to the startling idea that the peturbations as they evolve are actually modelling the ongoing state of the interior of the black hole. Modelling.. calculating.. simulating. The peturbations on the event horizon are a 2D calculation of the state of a 3D volume.

    This is the holographic theory - what if our entire universe, despite its apparent 3D nature, were in fact equivalent to a 2D simulation.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.