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Study offers best evidence yet that we're in a holographic universe

Engadget logo Engadget 31/01/2017 Devindra Hardawar
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Don't freak out, but there's a good chance that the entire universe is actually a holographic projection. The theory isn't new -- we've been talking about it since the 90's -- but a new study from researchers in Canada, Italy and the United Kingdom hint that it's even more likely than we thought. Their findings, which are based on irregularities in the cosmic microwave background (the remnants of the Big Bang), suggest there's as much evidence for a holographic universe as there is for our existing models.

"Imagine that everything you see, feel and hear in three dimensions (and your perception of time) in fact emanates from a flat two-dimensional field," Professor Kostas Skenderis of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton told PhysOrg. "The idea is similar to that of ordinary holograms where a three-dimensional image is encoded in a two-dimensional surface, such as in the hologram on a credit card. However, this time, the entire universe is encoded."

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The notion of a holographic universe is particularly appealing to physicists, since it would reconcile irregularities with Einstein's theory of general relativity and quantum mechanics. While Einstein's findings do a fine job of explaining large-scale aspects of the universe, they break down at the quantum level. The holographic principle comes out of string theory framework, but instead of trying to establish higher dimensional levels like M-theory (which presupposes 11 dimensions), it relies on just two.

If your brain is melting a bit, I don't blame you. On a fundamental level, proving that the holographic universe won't change our lives much. But it could lend a bit more weight to slightly more "out there" ideas like David Bohm's holonomic brain theory, which suggests that the brain operates much like a hologram. (Bohm also had some fascinating thoughts about communication and meaning, which seems particularly relevant today.)

Incredible photos from space

A small section of the expanding remains of the Veil Nebula is seen in an image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope: A small section of the expanding remains of the Veil Nebula, a massive star that exploded about 8,000 years ago. The entire nebula is 110 light-years across, covering six full moons on the sky as seen from Earth, and resides about 2,100 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan. Image taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Released September 24, 2015. The most amazing space photos of the year

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