Physicists who believe we're living in a giant hologram

#1
C C Offline
http://www.vox.com/2015/6/29/8847863/hol...e-universe

EXCERPT: Some physicists actually believe that the universe we live in might be a hologram. The idea isn't that the universe is some sort of fake simulation out of The Matrix, but rather that even though we appear to live in a three-dimensional universe, it might only have two dimensions. It's called the holographic principle.

The thinking goes like this: Some distant two-dimensional surface contains all the data needed to fully describe our world — and much like in a hologram, this data is projected to appear in three dimensions. Like the characters on a TV screen, we live on a flat surface that happens to look like it has depth.

It might sound absurd. But if when physicists assume it's true in their calculations, all sorts of big physics problems — such as the nature of black holes and the reconciling of gravity and quantum mechanics — become much simpler to solve. In short, the laws of physics seem to make more sense when written in two dimensions than in three.

"It's not considered some wild speculation among most theoretical physicists," says Leonard Susskind, the Stanford physicist who first formally defined the idea decades ago. "It's become a working, everyday tool to solve problems in physics."

But there's an important distinction to be made here. There's no direct evidence that our universe actually is a two-dimensional hologram. These calculations aren't the same as a mathematical proof. Rather, they're intriguing suggestions that our universe could be a hologram. And as of yet, not all physicists believe we have a good way of testing the idea experimentally.

Where did the idea that the universe might be a hologram come from? The idea originally came out of a pair of paradoxes concerning black holes....
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#2
Yazata Offline
(Jul 1, 2015 07:48 AM)C C Wrote: EXCERPT: Some physicists actually believe that the universe we live in might be a hologram. The idea isn't that the universe is some sort of fake simulation out of The Matrix, but rather that even though we appear to live in a three-dimensional universe, it might only have two dimensions. It's called the holographic principle.

The thinking goes like this: Some distant two-dimensional surface contains all the data needed to fully describe our world — and much like in a hologram, this data is projected to appear in three dimensions. Like the characters on a TV screen, we live on a flat surface that happens to look like it has depth.

It might sound absurd. But if when physicists assume it's true in their calculations, all sorts of big physics problems — such as the nature of black holes and the reconciling of gravity and quantum mechanics — become much simpler to solve. In short, the laws of physics seem to make more sense when written in two dimensions than in three.

Which raises the instrumentalism vs realism question concerning the mathematical formalism. What's more truly real, the heiroglyphic scratchings that physicists fill chalkboards with or the physical universe whose behavior the formalism is ostensibly supposed to describe?

Quote:"It's not considered some wild speculation among most theoretical physicists," says Leonard Susskind, the Stanford physicist who first formally defined the idea decades ago. "It's become a working, everyday tool to solve problems in physics."

I should have known. The guy annoys me.

Quote:But there's an important distinction to be made here. There's no direct evidence that our universe actually is a two-dimensional hologram.

Other than the fact that modeling it mathematically in two dimensions reportedly makes the mathematics easier and makes things more elegant and comprehensible.

There's seemingly a Platonic premise sneaking into all this, where the mathematics that physicists scrawl on chalkboards takes on life of its own and becomes the underlying World of Form, the true and ultimate reality that becomes the new root and focus of the whole physical enterprise. The equations become ends in themselves. Somehow the mathematics transforms from being a mathematical model that helps us predict the behavior of the physical reality that's ostensibly the object of physics, to being Reality itself while physical reality is demoted to being a mere phenomenal appearance that the mathematical formalism somehow projects on the wall of the misled little people's cave -- a 3-dimensional "hologram".
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#3
stryder Offline
I don't agree with the term hologram. The main reason from this is I tend to look from a simulation theory perspective. 2D is pretty much the way information is transversed within a computer environment. When data is placed into a packet it's not in three dimensions, it's framed in 2D. This means that data travelling within a computer or between computers is placed into 2D.

2D data doesn't have to be directly tangible with the real world, in fact if a simulation was made the entire realm where 2D would be used would be external to the simulation model. (Anyone at the simulation wouldn't see their world as 2D, they would observe the world from within that universes design) It's more like Virtual Origami than Hologram for that matter. Where 2D data sets on their own, or together are used to formulate the virtualised reality.

The main point at the end of the day is that we didn't just pop into existence at the mercy of chance, our very reality is something that we can as the human race define, reforge and change should we choose to. However such rationalisation is seen as irregular or dangerous by some, since they are use to the world they know and would feel uneasy at such changes.
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