Once upon a time, the idea of the world being anything other than flat was considered sacrilege – and yet science proved Galileo, Copernicus, and others right.
Now some physicists are investigating a theory we might at first consider just as hare-brained as people once thought the idea of a round earth: The idea that the universe might have once been a two-dimensional hologram.
First: Yes, we realize how crazy this sounds. Second: That doesn’t mean it might not be true.
In fact, recent research offers tantalizing evidence that suggests the hologram principle works just as well as the standard Big Bang model in explaining the early Universe, and if the theory holds weight, it could help answer some major questions that physics, as of yet, simply haven’t been able to answer.
In particular, hologram principle, first addressed in the 1990’s, could offer a way to tie together the two major – and currently sometimes disparate – arms of modern physics, general relativity and quantum mechanics.
As the Life Noggin video below can help explain, hologram theory proposes that all information about a volume of space can be understood as encoded data on a two-dimensional boundary to that area.
For instance, think of a black hole – some physicists think that information about all the stuff that falls into a black hole is actually retained (or encoded) on its boundary, the event horizon.
And so if we expand the principle of hologram theory, that means that a two-dimensional boundary can contain all of the information matter of the Universe, even as we understand it in three dimensions.
Obviously, this is still just theory, and proving it remains out of reach – but physicists are certainly trying, with more than 10,000 papers published in the field, all in the last twenty years.
In fact, one study earlier this year claimed to have found what could be the first direct observational evidence that Universe once was a hologram, based on the cosmic microwave background – the ‘afterglow’ of the Big Bang.
The Life Noggin episode can better explain, but it’s certainly a theory worth considering!
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