Whenever you buy that copy of your most awaited book, on its cover you can very well see the publishing company’s registered hologram (pictured above). A hologram in simple words is a 3-dimensional image on a 2-dimensional surface. Something like the latest 3-d movie you watched where you could virtually live in the movie, as if everything in it was happening in the normal 3-d world we are familiar with (length, breadth, and height) despite the fact that it was being played on a 2-dimensional screen (length and breadth). A hologram, to be a bit scientific, is formed by the interference (or superposition) of two waves, the object wave (from the object) and the reference wave (like a plane wave) namely. The reference wave helps to tell the phase difference of the different parts of the object, thus helping build a 3-d illusion of the object. Unlike normal photo which has only the intensity distribution of the object recorded( i.e brightness of different parts) a hologram also has the phase difference recorded, which helps us to view the picture in terms of ‘depth’ too.
Now what if I were to tell you that there is a hypothesis in the scientific community that this universe and everything in it, including you and me , is nothing but a hologram? You, would think I am joking. But honestly, there is one such hypothesis, which originates from none other than ‘The String Theory’, which is one exotic theory in itself. Well, the hologram hypothesis, or the simulation hypothesis, is that the whole universe as we known it is a hologram.
The holographic principle results from the theoretical study of black holes (as a solution to Hawking’s Information Paradox), spherical regions where gravity is so intense that not even light can escape. A black hole has an amount of disorder, or entropy, that is proportional to its surface area. As entropy is related to information content, some theorists suggested that an information-area connection might be extended to any properly defined volume of space and time, or spacetime. Thus, crudely speaking, the maximum amount of information contained in a 3D region of space would be proportional its 2D surface area. The universe would then work a bit like a hologram, in which a 2D pattern captures a 3D image. In other words, the total amount of information in the universe is finite.
Before you get excited/ terrified remember it is just a hypothesis right now. Nevertheless an interesting one. Can all this reality as we know it is just a simulation? What or who is controlling this? Can movie like The Matrix, or the Inception not be just science fiction anymore? The argument has scientists both for and against it.
In a study conducted by a team of scientists from UK, Canada and Italy found evidence in the cosmic radiation from the Big-Bang in support of the hypothesis, from the glitches in the data, but it is worth pointing out that the same results can be interpreted in terms of the theory of cosmic inflation.
In December of 2015, using lasers and mirrors in a tunnel, a few scientists of the Fermilab, came forward to test the hypothesis. Headed by the inventor of the experiment, Craig Hogan of Fermilab, the $2.5 million Fermilab holometer could find no clues whatsoever in the support of this exotic theory. Still, this was a great step towards testing the theory.
The idea behind the experiment was if coordinates in different directions—up-down, forward-backward, right-left—obey a relationship a bit like the famous Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which states that you cannot simultaneously know both the position and momentum of a particle. If so, then it should be impossible to precisely define a 3D position, at least on very small scales of 10-35 meters.
Hogan figured he could spot the effect using L-shaped optical devices known as interferometers, in which laser light is used to measure the relative length of a device’s two arms to within a fraction of an atom’s width. If it were impossible to exactly define position, then “holographic noise” should cause the output of an interferometer to jiggle at a frequency of millions of cycles per second, he argued. If two interferometers were placed back to back, they would sample distinct volumes of spacetime, and their holographic noise would be uncorrelated. But if they were nestled one inside the other, the interferometers would probe the same volume of spacetime and the holographic noise would be correlated. And if the interferometers were big enough, that correlated holographic noise should be effectively amplified to observable scales.
The idea behind the experiment is still a bit unclear but Hogan argues that it has the needed accuracy to check the validity of the theory, and has nevertheless made measurements to a very high level of accuracy.
The argument over the validity of the reality of our reality is still a hot one, but as we advance, we can hope to find a solution to the question. Till then you are free to choose sides, but which one? Is this the reality, or is it just a coded dream controlled by some other higher creature?
“Imagine the universe around us as something of a television screen. If you zoom in far enough, you’ll eventually start to see these ‘pixels’ where there is a lack of information. In other words, there could be a finite amount of ‘data’ that makes up the world, and when you get in close enough, you can see where the data starts to fail. “