Do we live in a 2-D hologram? New Fermilab experiment will test the nature of the universe

Aug 26, 2014
A Fermilab scientist works on the laser beams at the heart of the Holometer experiment. The Holometer will use twin laser interferometers to test whether the universe is a 2-D hologram. Credit: Fermilab

A unique experiment at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory called the Holometer has started collecting data that will answer some mind-bending questions about our universe – including whether we live in a hologram.

Much like characters on a television show would not know that their seemingly 3 - D world exists only on a 2 - D screen, we could be clueless that our 3 - D is just an illusion. The information about everything in our universe could actually be encoded in tiny packets in two dimensions.

Get close enough to your TV screen and you'll see pixels, small points of data that make a seamless image if you stand back. Scientists think that the universe's information may be contained in the same way, and that the natural "pixel size" of space is roughly 10 trillion trillion times smaller than an atom, a distance that physicists refer to as the Planck scale.

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

Quantum theory suggests that it is impossible to know both the exact location and the exact speed of subatomic particles. If space comes in 2-D bits with limited information about the precise location of objects, then space itself would fall under the same theory of uncertainty . The same way that matter continues to jiggle (as quantum waves) even when cooled to absolute zero, this digitized space should have built-in vibrations even in its lowest energy state.

The holometer as constructed at Fermilab includes two interferometers in evacuated 6-inch steel tubes about 40 meters long. Optical systems (not shown here) in each one “recycle” laser light to create a very steady, intense laser wave with about a kilowatt of laser power to maximize the precision of the measurement. The outputs of the two photodiodes are correlated to measure the holographic jitter of the spacetime the two machines share. The holometer will measure jitter as small as a few billionths of a billionth of a meter. Credit: Fermilab.

Essentially, the experiment probes the limits of the 's ability to store information. If there are a set number of bits that tell you where something is, it eventually becomes impossible to find more specific information about the location – even in principle. The instrument testing these limits is Fermilab's Holometer, or holographic interferometer, the most sensitive device ever created to measure the quantum jitter of space itself.

Now operating at full power, the Holometer uses a pair of interferometers placed close to one another. Each one sends a one-kilowatt laser beam (the equivalent of 200,000 laser pointers) at a and down two perpendicular 40-meter arms. The light is then reflected back to the beam splitter where the two beams recombine, creating fluctuations in brightness if there is motion. Researchers analyze these fluctuations in the returning light to see if the beam splitter is moving in a certain way – being carried along on a jitter of space itself.

"Holographic noise" is expected to be present at all frequencies, but the scientists' challenge is not to be fooled by other sources of vibrations. The Holometer is testing a frequency so high – millions of cycles per second – that motions of normal matter are not likely to cause problems. Rather, the dominant background noise is more often due to radio waves emitted by nearby electronics. The Holometer experiment is designed to identify and eliminate noise from such conventional sources.

"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 spacetime," said Fermilab physicist Aaron Chou, lead scientist and 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."

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baudrunner
1.4 / 5 (19) Aug 26, 2014
Quantum theory suggests that it is impossible to know both the exact location and the exact speed of subatomic particles.
Well no, that's the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

The Holometer is testing a frequency so high – millions of cycles per second..
..should read, "too high for.." etc., not "so high -", because that's not so high. T-Mobile operates in the 1900 MHz range. That's almost 2 billion cycles per second.

If we see something, it will completely change ideas about space we've used for thousands of years.
"If" we see something..? Were reality a manifestation of the information contained in a 2 dimensional whatever, then according to the parameters of the experiment, you will see something right now, or not at all.

The entire theory is imaginative pseudo-science, and they're getting funded to prove it, I guess, thanks to the creative thinking of Lee Smolin.
Aligo
Aug 26, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Liquid1474
2.9 / 5 (8) Aug 26, 2014
@baudrunner,

baudrunner;...bro,.. do you even lift?
antigoracle
1.4 / 5 (10) Aug 26, 2014
The same way that matter continues to jiggle (as quantum waves) even when cooled to absolute zero

I had no idea absolute zero had been achieved.
Aligo
Aug 26, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Aligo
Aug 26, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Aligo
Aug 26, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
shavera
5 / 5 (11) Aug 26, 2014
antigoracle: in this case they mean that "in the limit as temperature approaches absolute zero" there will still be motion of some particles. We've technologically gotten within billionths of a kelvin to absolute zero
hagent
1 / 5 (9) Aug 26, 2014
We all live in a black hole that has exploded inward/outward with new dimensions.

Cheers,
Aligo
Aug 26, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Hawthorne
4.6 / 5 (8) Aug 26, 2014
My understanding is that the universe as hologram theory flows from the solution to the Hawkins Paradox which holds that when a 3D object falls into a black hole its information remains spread out on the event horizon in 2D bits. In this way, information is never lost. It occurred to physicists that this model could apply to the universe as a whole, which is what they are testing for.

But while the model gives the appearance of how a hologram works, does it necessarily follow that it functions as a hologram? Is there a really causal relationship between the 2D information and the 3D realm we inhabit or is one just a reflection of the other through some process we don't know? Also, since other theories suggest that the 3D realm actually has 10 dimensions, wouldn't the 2D packets of information also have more dimensions, perhaps 9? Can't infinity be represented by 9-dimensional "packets" of information?

Probably ignorant questions, but that's the extent of my current understanding.
thingumbobesquire
1 / 5 (6) Aug 27, 2014
I think like Carl Sagan, you might have to smoke a lot of pot to really get this "We all live in a 2D hologram" stuff.
Jixo
Aug 27, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
thingumbobesquire
1 / 5 (10) Aug 27, 2014
What is the probability that these theorists know their rectums from a hole in the ground?
antialias_physorg
4.9 / 5 (10) Aug 27, 2014
Is there a really causal relationship between the 2D information and the 3D realm we inhabit or is one just a reflection of the other through some process we don't know?

If it is a reflection (or other transformation) then there is a causal connection.

Also, since other theories suggest that the 3D realm actually has 10 dimensions, wouldn't the 2D packets of information also have more dimensions, perhaps 9?

The ten dimensions stay ten.(always positing that the theory that requires them - string theory - holds true)

The funny thing is that we may actually exist 'on the wall' in Plato's cave...and the guys watching the shadows are the illusion.
Now I don't know how this experiment turns out. But in the event that is gets a positive result (and we find other, corroborative evidence) I predict that this state of affairs will be a hard pill to swallow for the rest of humanity.
Jixo
Aug 27, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
thingumbobesquire
1.5 / 5 (8) Aug 27, 2014
"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 spacetime,"

Hmm. Don't schizophrenics have noises they can't get rid of?
saposjoint
4.2 / 5 (10) Aug 27, 2014
Noises like Zephyr in his new aliases?
Jixo
Aug 27, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (15) Aug 27, 2014
My posts are therefore dedicated to people, who already know, what the holographic principle is about

Problem is...those who know what the holographic principle is about can clearly tell from your posts that you don't.
So you're really only talking to yourself (and have been for the past years)
antigoracle
1 / 5 (14) Aug 27, 2014
Well, it appears the down rating moronic trolls are all over this site. Something I naively chose not to believe. What is truly amazing about their behavior is that 11 of them would down rate aligo, but not a single one would bother to post a response.

saposjoint
4.4 / 5 (13) Aug 27, 2014
Aligo is Zephyr. What sort of comment would you like, you moronic troll?
antigoracle
1 / 5 (12) Aug 27, 2014
Aligo is Zephyr. What sort of comment would you like, you moronic troll?

So my turd bait worked, but it's really to my disappointment, for now I'm left with the lingering stench it left behind.
no fate
1 / 5 (4) Aug 27, 2014
I think like Carl Sagan, you might have to smoke a lot of pot to really get this "We all live in a 2D hologram" stuff.


It would need to be much "stronger" than pot...
Whydening Gyre
3 / 5 (2) Aug 27, 2014
I think like Carl Sagan, you might have to smoke a lot of pot to really get this "We all live in a 2D hologram" stuff.


Not to get it...
just to deal with it....
Jixo
Aug 27, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
antigoracle
1.4 / 5 (11) Aug 27, 2014
I think like Carl Sagan, you might have to smoke a lot of pot to really get this "We all live in a 2D hologram" stuff.


Not to get it...
just to deal with it....

So, how can we get this recognized as a medical condition.
Jixo
Aug 27, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Jixo
Aug 27, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Jixo
Aug 27, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (2) Aug 27, 2014
I think like Carl Sagan, you might have to smoke a lot of pot to really get this "We all live in a 2D hologram" stuff.

We LIVE in a 3d universe. We just translate it to 2d to observe, analyze and rationalize.
translation - 3d is the action, 2d is the snapshot.
Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (11) Aug 27, 2014
But when I face the obstinate downvoting, then I know, that the people don't understand at all, what I'm saying
@zephir/Jixo/Aligo
OR
they don't agree with you because
From perspective of dense aether model
&
In AWT it just means
&
The Holometer itself is actually searching for gravitational waves in the sense of dense aether model
which are based upon a dead theory
why not just stick to the arguments and leave out the aether crap which has been debunked?
http://arxiv.org/...1284.pdf

Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (2) Aug 27, 2014
I think like Carl Sagan, you might have to smoke a lot of pot to really get this "We all live in a 2D hologram" stuff.

We LIVE in a 3d universe. We just translate it to 2d to observe, analyze and rationalize.
translation - 3d is the action, 2d is the snapshot.

Dang.. I was wrong...
We live in a 4d universe. 3d is the sum of the series of 2d "snapshots", allowed for by the existence of the 4th dimension...
We're not in a 2d hologram (which doesn't make sense anyway, because holograms are supposed to be 3d) -
We're in a 3d movie...
pandora4real
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 27, 2014
The idea that space-time is quantized is an old Doctor Who chestnut, FWIW. http://tardis.wik...ial_time
quantformation
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 28, 2014
Experimental research was mainly focused on detecting nature of matter and we have found a lot about it too.This experiment will be one of it's kind to know about nature of space and time (if space and time follows uncertainty,have quantum nature etc),i wish scientists and engineers of Fermilab best of luck.
Jixo
Aug 28, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
mahi
1 / 5 (7) Aug 28, 2014
Holographic universe is not weird if we reinstate Ether into our understanding. Yes, every bit of our universe can possess information about the entire universe!

http://debunkingr...ins-all/
mooster75
4.7 / 5 (9) Aug 28, 2014
Holographic universe is not weird if we reinstate Ether into our understanding. Yes, every bit of our universe can possess information about the entire universe!

And if we reinstate Santa Claus, it becomes even more clear!
antigoracle
1 / 5 (9) Aug 28, 2014
Hey mooster, were you dropped as a baby, or just born special?
No need to respond, I don't want you to burn out that lone neuron in the space between your ears.
malapropism
5 / 5 (7) Aug 28, 2014
For laymen every advanced technology or theory is sort of miracle, as Asimov already noted.

I think that the quote you are looking for is actually attributed to Arthur C. Clarke and goes along the lines that, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
malapropism
5 / 5 (6) Aug 29, 2014
Now I don't know how this experiment turns out. But in the event that is gets a positive result (and we find other, corroborative evidence) I predict that this state of affairs will be a hard pill to swallow for the rest of humanity.

Depending upon the outcome, this does seem that it could have existential implications.

I don't know the answer to this so it's in fact a genuine question to ponder but might not a positive result also potentially be interpretable as that we exist inside a simulation?
quantformation
not rated yet Aug 29, 2014
I don't think, this experiment doesn't prove something about "quantum nature of space-time", this is just a pop-sci technobabble for trustful masses. This method of scalar wave detection is not even particularly sensitive and effective.

This is not a method of scalar wave detection(does scalar waves even exist!)
quantformation
not rated yet Aug 29, 2014
this is not a method of scalar wave detection. about sensitivity ,,,,,Holometer is world's most sensitive laser interferometer
mahi
1 / 5 (2) Aug 29, 2014
Holographic universe is not weird if we reinstate Ether into our understanding. Yes, every bit of our universe can possess information about the entire universe!

And if we reinstate Santa Claus, it becomes even more clear!


I agree. Scientists have only claimed Michelson's experiment as 'disproof' of Ether. They haven't yet claimed that as disproof of Santa. Until they do that, your Santa hypothesis scores over the Ether hypothesis.

http://debunkingr...er-drag/
SteveS
not rated yet Aug 29, 2014
I don't know the answer to this so it's in fact a genuine question to ponder but might not a positive result also potentially be interpretable as that we exist inside a simulation?


A 2d universe simulated by a 3d universe simulated by a 4d universe, ad infinitum. Pure solipsism, but I love the idea. :-)
3432682
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 29, 2014
I call BS. Science is becoming like modern art - a cowpie nailed to a board.
Egleton
1 / 5 (4) Aug 30, 2014
Many word salads later. . .
So you think you have got a brain? You have either two or none.
Scientists live in their Left, model making, brain.
The Joke is that the Left Model making brain is itself a model. Reality is a virtual reality game an you are stuck inside it. (By "you" I mean "Us/me")
The Brain is also virtual. It only exists when you look at it. The refresh rate is very fast- the time it takes light to traverse the plank length.
The pixel has sides one plank length long.
Not original thinking on my part I am afraid.
Go find out yourself-if you dare challenge your social conditioning.
http://mybigtoe.com/
Aligo
Aug 30, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
TimLong2001
1 / 5 (2) Sep 01, 2014
LOL!
Mike_Massen
5 / 5 (1) Sep 01, 2014
3432682 muttered
I call BS. Science is becoming like modern art - a cowpie nailed to a board.
Maybe its the case for those that cannot handle science complexity. Having gained multiple university qualifications for decades I have seen a general reduction in the ability of many to handle complexity & a greater reluctance to apply maths.

Education system is partly at fault, some of those mentioned are managing the system, rather ironic !

My last qualification is post grad in food science, I have discovered that the reduction in minerals in a typical western diet; Food processing, inadequate fertiliser, genetic crop changes, depleted soils etc has led to mild mental retardation in ever greater numbers in the general populace eg 'fear of effort in thought'.

Key minerals in this respect are zinc & copper. USA alone WHO reported ~79% are below their RDI for copper which supports 200+ enzymes, essential to grow capillaries on demand for brain function, especially for republicans ;-)
swordsman
1 / 5 (1) Sep 01, 2014
Interesting concept, but not fully thought out. The universe is "lit" by many beams of light, most of which are incoherent with one another. Not likely to produce a hologram.
Zardoz
1 / 5 (1) Sep 03, 2014
Well, we already have a kind of 2D to 3D conversion from our retinas to the picture our brain constructs. Not true 2D, of course - because our eyes are made of 3D materials, or so our mental reconstruction of eyes tells us.
It's not entirely clear whether the hologram theory here refers to literal 2D information - not used in the conventional way in which we use 2D to refer to things which are really 3D when you look closely such as paper and screens.

Or does the process of constructing an image from the eyes really involve a 2D to 3D manufacture or conversion ?
Zardoz
1 / 5 (2) Sep 03, 2014
What is meant by 2D information here ? Is this something different from matter ? Or does this get into information being the basic stuff of the universe ? And if it isn't matter, how does it affect matter ?

Lost.
Zardoz
1 / 5 (2) Sep 03, 2014
nixed.

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