We live in a giant hologram - VIDEO PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 06:00

Physicists really believe that the Universe in which we live, may be a giant hologram. Such scientific profession is becoming increasingly popular. And most interesting is that this idea is not entirely reminiscent of modeling such as "The Matrix", but rather leads to the fact that although we think we live in a three-dimensional Universe, it may have only two dimensions. This is called the holographic principle.

The idea is the following: some distant dimensional surface contains all the data needed for a complete description of the world - and, as a hologram, the data are projected in three dimensions. Like the characters on television, we live on a flat surface, which only seems to us the deep.

It sounds absurd. But if physics come to the conclusion that their calculations are correct, all the major problems of physics - such as the nature of black holes and the reconciliation of gravity and quantum mechanics - will be much easier to solve. In short, the laws of physics have more meaning when written in two dimensions, rather than three.

"Among the most theoretical physicists, this idea is not considered insane, - says Leonard Susskind, Stanford physicist who first formally formed the idea decades ago. - It has become an everyday work tool for solving problems in physics. "

However, it is worth noting an important point. There is no direct evidence that our Universe is actually a two-dimensional hologram. These calculations are not the same as a mathematical proof. Rather, they are an intriguing suggestion that our Universe can be a hologram. And while not all physicists are confident that we have a good way to test the idea experimentally.

Where did the idea that the Universe can be a hologram?

Initially, the idea came from a pair of paradoxes associated with black holes.

1. The paradox of information loss in a black hole

In 1974, Stephen Hawking discovered that black holes, contrary to established beliefs, emit small amounts of radiation over time. Eventually, when all the energy will flow through the event horizon - the outer boundary of a black hole - a black hole should disappear completely.

However, this idea has led to a problem of information loss in a black hole. For a long time it was thought that the information can not be destroyed physically: all of the particles take the original form, or in the case of changes affect other particles, so by the changes, you can restore the original state of the particles.

As part of the analogy, imagine a stack of documents that are fed shredder. Even if the documents are broken into small particles, the information in them will still exist. It will be broken down into smaller pieces, but not disappear, and for a certain time, the document will be reassembled. So you can find out what it was recorded. Essentially, the same can be applied to the particles.

But there is a problem: if the black hole disappears, the information about each object was sucked into it, too, it seems to have disappeared.

One solution proposed by Susskind and Gerard 't Hooft Dutch physicist in the mid-90s, was the fact that when an object is pulled into the black hole, it leaves behind a sort of two-dimensional mark encoded in the event horizon. Later, when radiation is emitted from the black hole, it picks up the prints of the data. Thus, information is not actually broken.

Calculations showed that a two-dimensional surface of a black hole can store enough information to fully describe all possible three-dimensional objects inside.

"The analogy, which we both thought no matter, it is something like a hologram - a two-dimensional piece of film, which can encode information about the three-dimensional region of space," - says Susskind.

2. The problem of entropy

There was also the related problem of calculating the amount of entropy in a black hole - that is the amount of disorder and accidents among its particles. In 70 years of Jacob Bekenstein calculated that its entropy is limited, and it is proportional to strap two-dimensional region of the event horizon of a black hole.

"For systems ordinary matter entropy is proportional to the volume rather than the square" - says Juan Maldacena Argentine physicist who participated in the study, the holographic principle. Eventually, he and others came to the conclusion that what looks like a three-dimensional object - a black hole - can be better understood in two dimensions.

As this idea has moved from black holes to the whole Universe?

None of this proves that black holes - the hologram. But almost immediately, says Susskind, physicists recognized that the consideration of the Universe as a two-dimensional object that only seems three-dimensional, can help solve many of the deepest problems in theoretical physics. Math theory works equally well regardless of whether you are talking about the black hole, or an entire planet of the Universe.

In 1998 Maldacena demonstrated that a hypothetical Universe can be a hologram. His private hypothetical Universe was a so-called anti-de Sitter space (in simple words, the curved shape at large distances, in contrast to our flat Universe).

Moreover, when looking at the Universe in two dimensions, he found a way to attract an incredibly popular idea of ​​string theory - a broad theoretical field in which the basic building blocks of our Universe are the one-dimensional strings, rather than particles.

And more importantly, in the process, he united two extremely important and specific concepts of physics in one theoretical framework. "Holographic Principle connected with the theory of gravitation theories of particle physics," - says Maldacena.

The combination of these two fundamental ideas in a consistent theory (often called quantum gravity) remains one of the holy grails of physics. Of course, it also does not tell us that our Universe - and not hypothetical - a hologram.

Could our Universe is, in principle, be a hologram - and this idea is applicable only to a hypothetical? This remains the subject of fierce debate.

Recently, there have been many theoretical work that led to the idea that the holographic principle can work for our Universe - including works by high-profile Indian and Austrian physicists who left in May.

As Maldacena, they also sought to apply the principle and to find similarities between disparate fields of quantum physics and the theory of gravitation. In our Universe, these two theories do not agree: they predict different outcomes for the conduct of any individual particle.

But the new work physicists have calculated how these theories can predict the degree of entanglement - the strange quantum phenomenon, where the state of the two tiny particles can be correlated so that a change in one particle affects the other, even at a great distance. Scientists have found that treating a specific model of the Universe as a hologram plane, they can get the same results from both theories.

However, although it is a bit closer to the Universe he was working Maldacena, scientists worked with only one particular type of flat space, and their calculation does not take into account the time - only three spatial dimensions. Moreover, even if it can be applied directly to our Universe, this would indicate only that it may be a hologram.

How to prove that our Universe - a hologram?

The best type of evidence must start with some verifiable predictions of output within the holographic theory. Experimental physicists could gather evidence to see whether the results of the predictions. For example, the Big Bang theory predicted that we would find the remains of energy emanating from the entire Universe as a result of the brutal expansion of 13.8 billion years ago - and in the 1960s, astronomers found exactly that in the form of the cosmic microwave background.

Currently, there is no universal test that would provide solid proof of this idea. However, some physicists believe that the holographic principle predicts a limit to how much information can include the space-time, as our seemingly three-dimensional space-time coded in a limited number of two-dimensional information.

Craig Hogan of Fermilab uses a tool called Holometer, which should catch the evidence of the above. It relies on high-power lasers that are looking for a fundamental limit on the amount of information present in the space-time - at ultra-low levels of submicroscopic. If found, it will be proof that we live in a hologram.

Other physicists, including Susskind, do not believe in this experiment, and say that he did not provide any evidence of the holographic principle.

Well, we live in a hologram. What's next?

Strictly speaking, nothing. The laws of physics by which you live your life will remain the same. Your house, dog, car, will continue to be the body of three-dimensional objects, however, and always seemed to have. But in the deepest sense, this discovery will revolutionize our existence on a fundamental level.

For our everyday life has no meaning, that 13.8 billion years ago in a sudden and violent explosion of a single point of matter, formed our Universe. But the discovery of the Big Bang is an important tool in our understanding of the history of the Universe and understanding of our place in the cosmos.

Similarly, the strange principles of quantum mechanics - the confusion in which two remote particles somehow affect each other - does not affect our daily lives. You do not see atoms and do not know what they do to the smallest level. But these principles allow us to discover the laws of nature unexpected.

Confirmation of the holographic principle would be the same. Living their lives, we can never even find a peculiar and contradictory fact that we live in a hologram. But this discovery is an important step on the road to a full understanding of the laws of physics - that define every action that you take.



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