Are we living inside a hologram?

Well, maybe you are….

If space-time is a grainy hologram, then you can think of the universe as a sphere whose outer surface is papered in Planck length-sized squares, each containing one bit of information. The holographic principle says that the amount of information papering the outside must match the number of bits contained inside the volume of the universe.

Since the volume of the spherical universe is much bigger than its outer surface, how could this be true? Hogan realised that in order to have the same number of bits inside the universe as on the boundary, the world inside must be made up of grains bigger than the Planck length. “Or, to put it another way, a holographic universe is blurry,” says Hogan.

This is good news for anyone trying to probe the smallest unit of space-time. “Contrary to all expectations, it brings its microscopic quantum structure within reach of current experiments,” says Hogan. So while the Planck length is too small for experiments to detect, the holographic “projection” of that graininess could be much, much larger, at around 10-16 metres. “If you lived inside a hologram, you could tell by measuring the blurring,” he says.

My friend Wil sees a parallel to Plato’s allegory of the cave. Maybe the world of experience really is a projection on the wall.

One thought on “Are we living inside a hologram?

  1. I have always struggled with a mild, guilty suspicion–which I’m sure is quite wrong, and which I would never admit to openly–that physicists are either deluded or just making all of this fanciful-sounding stuff up.

    I don’t know a thing about physics at this level, but I always think about Dave Barry’s spoof many years ago of a newspaper column about scientists who had just discovered a new sub-atomic particle, much tinier than ever before discovered. When reporters asked if they could see the particle, they were told “it’s resting.”

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