New Experiment Will Tell Us If The Universe Is a Hologram

Tuesday, 26 August 2014 - 12:41PM
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Tuesday, 26 August 2014 - 12:41PM
New Experiment Will Tell Us If The Universe Is a Hologram

Do we live in a two-dimensional hologram? Scientists may discover that we live in a Matrix-like illusion during an upcoming experiment from the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory that will look for "holographic noise" and will collect data over the next year.

 

Although our world appears three-dimensional to us, this could be entirely illusive. Scientists are theorizing that our universe may operate much like a TV screen; just like a TV screen has pixels which create seamless images, spacetime could be contained in two-dimensional packets that make reality appear three-dimensional to the human eye. Like a hologram, a three-dimensional image would be coded onto a two-dimensional medium. If this theory is correct, these "pixels" of spacetime would be ten trillion trillion times smaller than an atom. 

 

"We want to find out whether space-time is a quantum system just like matter is," said Craig Hogan, director of Fermilab's Center for Particle Astrophysics. "If we see something, it will completely change ideas about space we've used for thousands of years."

 

If these packets of spacetime exist, then they are expected to be governed by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. According to this principle, it is impossible to simultaneously ascertain the exact speed and exact location of a subatomic particle. If spacetime consists of two-dimensional fragments, then all of space would potentially be governed by this principle. If this were the case, then space, like matter, would have perpetual quantum vibrations regardless of its energy level. 

 

In order to determine whether these vibrations are present, the researchers will use a device called Holometer, or holographic interferometer, which is the most sensitive device ever made that is capable of measuring these quantum vibrations, or "holographic noise." The Holometer consists of two adjacent interferometers that shoot a laser at a beam-splitter. When the beams of light recombine, the researchers can observe fluctuations of brightness if the beam of light is traveling along vibrating space. They then attempt to account for the effects of any other confounding variables in the environment that may have caused the fluctuations.

 

"If we find a noise we can't get rid of, we might be detecting something fundamental about nature -- a noise that is intrinsic to space-time," said Fermilab physicist Aaron Chou, project manager for the Holometer. "It's an exciting moment for physics. A positive result will open a whole new avenue of questioning about how space works." 

 

Via Science Daily

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