Do We Live In A Hologram? It's More Likely Than You Might Think

Excerpt from
By Eric Mack

Everything in our universe might be a lot flatter than it seems, at least, if you do the math.

If you’ve got a credit card in your wallet that has one of those little 3D holograms on it — a two-dimensional  image that uses some tricks of light to appear three-dimensional — you can get a sense of how new research out of Vienna suggests that we might be able to describe our universe.

In other words, the mind-melting notion that sometimes floats around in theoretical physics and science fiction circles that the universe might actually be a hologram continues to be worth further investigation.

It’s an idea that’s been around at least since 1994 when Leonard Susskind published a paper describing how the merging of the quantum and relativistic descriptions of the universe yielded a three-dimensional world that could actually be “an image of data that can be stored on a two dimensional projection much like a holographic image.”

(credit: Vienna University of Technology)

Testing this idea in a space similar to what we experience in the universe is difficult, but an international team led by Daniel Grumiller at the Vienna University of Technology has spent the last few years trying to calculate whether or not the “holographic principle,” as it’s called, could hold in our universe.

This week they published their findings in the journal Physical Review Letters that the idea of a holographic universe is feasible using both the quantum and relativistic theories.

“This calculation affirms our assumption that the holographic principle can also be realized in flat spaces. It is evidence for the validity of this correspondence in our universe”, says team member Max Riegler, also from the Vienna University of Technology.

“That we are now able to use this as a tool to test the validity of the holographic principle, and that this test works out, is quite remarkable,” adds Grumiller in a release.

The team explains that their findings are not yet proof we are living in a hologram. However, an experiment currently running at the Fermilab could help shed a little light on the matter. 

The lab’s Holometer is currently examining the characteristics of space itself in an attempt to observe whether or not the space-time of our universe is steady, or if it “jitters” a bit. This “holographic noise” could represent further evidence that our three-dimensional world is a little less “deep” than it seems.