Further evidence we are all just a Hologram

Back in January 2009 we reported that German scientists had stumbled upon a strange problem that suggests that the univere is a holographic projection - a crazy theory I admit. Forward to October 2010 and physicist Craig Hogan has been busy building a holographic interferometer, or "Holometer" (which sounds like it came straight out of Star Trek) to test this theory and attempt to find hard evidence (The Holometer is still under construction at Fermilab in the USA at present) of our holo-existance.

Fast forward again to December 2013 and further independant evidence from other Physicists has come to light that re-enforces the theory that we may all in fact be holograms projected from a external source.

In order to understand just what it is these Physicists are suggesting we need to go back to the last century and the Nobel Prize winning Dutch theoretical physicist Gerard 't Hooft. It was Hooft who originally conceived of the idea behind the holographic model, sprung from his research into black holes and quantum gravity. He surmised that near black holes "quantum fields" (models of subatomic particles) could be described by a theory in a lower dimension than our current ones. This idea was then given a more solid form and a precise string-theory interpretation by Leonard Susskind - the Felix Bloch Professor of Theoretical Physics at Stanford University - who coined the term "The holographic principle".

It wasn't until 1997 that the theory gained much exposure in the wider world when Argentinian theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena provided a reliable realisation of the principle, one that could also be more easily understood by those of us who aren't physicists and one that gave the theory a more solid footing.

Essentially it all begins with Gravity. See we can understand how gravity works, how large bodies have an effect on smaller ones within an area of influence but no-one really understands how it forms - or at least no-one has proved a model that works and can play nice with other theories.

Maldacena builds on the string theory idea mapped out by Susskind - the idea is that gravity is built up from thin vibrating strings that exist in 10 dimensions - 9 of them space and the tenth being time - and that the real universe exists externally, without gravity. This is how the idea of the "hologram" definition works, like a three dimensional image printed on a two dimensional surface such as you see on bank notes. In this example the third dimension isn't real, it just looks like it - you can't physically touch the image being projected.

For the first time Maldacena described a relationship between quantum field theories (the framework for the models of subatomic particles) and quantum gravity (the theory that describes the force of gravity) - known as AdS/CFT correspondence.

Now as mentioned earlier a lot of this theory revolves around those enigmatic wonders of the universe, black holes. The first of these two pieces of new evidence examines the energy of the black hole along with the position of it's event horizon and it's entropy. The second piece of evidence calculates the energy of the theoretical lower dimensional cosmos that comes without gravity. These two theoretical papers, produced by two different scientists matched. Essentially the thermodynamics of the black hole in question can be reproduced in a lower dimensional, gravity free reality as suggested by the holographic principle.

Maldacena even examined the papers himself and agreed that though they don't resemble our own universe, they do indeed match. So what we have is a model that is based on the holographic principle and now someone just needs to figure out if this model would work with our universe.

What is sobering about the whole thing is that this model represents a ten dimensional theory of gravity with fewer dimensions than standard quantum physics and with the same predictions but without the glaring inconsistencies that exist between quantum physics and Einstein's theory of gravity. In the holographic principle physicists can solve problems by moving backwards and forwards between models, a bridge between what would otherwise be intractable ideals.

There is still a long way to go before there is sufficient evidence to point to this theory being likely (let's hope that the Fermilab Holometer can shed some light there) but as each piece of the puzzle is revealed it is providing a tantalising glimpse towards a simpler answer.

Scary isn't it!