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Simulations Back Up Theory That Universe Is a Hologram

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the not-the-star-trek-kind dept.

Science 433

ananyo writes "A team of physicists has provided some of the clearest evidence yet that our Universe could be just one big projection. In 1997, theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena proposed that an audacious model of the Universe in which gravity arises from infinitesimally thin, vibrating strings could be reinterpreted in terms of well-established physics. The mathematically intricate world of strings, which exist in nine dimensions of space plus one of time, would be merely a hologram: the real action would play out in a simpler, flatter cosmos where there is no gravity. Maldacena's idea thrilled physicists because it offered a way to put the popular but still unproven theory of strings on solid footing — and because it solved apparent inconsistencies between quantum physics and Einstein's theory of gravity. It provided physicists with a mathematical Rosetta stone, a 'duality', that allowed them to translate back and forth between the two languages, and solve problems in one model that seemed intractable in the other and vice versa. But although the validity of Maldacena's ideas has pretty much been taken for granted ever since, a rigorous proof has been elusive. In two papers posted on the arXiv repository, Yoshifumi Hyakutake of Ibaraki University in Japan and his colleagues now provide, if not an actual proof, at least compelling evidence that Maldacena's conjecture is true."

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433 comments

bah (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663427)

this would make boobs boring. don't believe it.

Re:bah (5, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | about 8 months ago | (#45663871)

nonsense, it makes boobs awesome holographic porn, projected from a surface.

A projection of what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663445)

Seems like hand-waving to call it a "projection".

Pan-dimensional beings (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663455)

who appear to us as mice

Re:A projection of what? (3, Interesting)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 8 months ago | (#45663981)

If I understand this wikipedia article correctly [wikipedia.org] , it's a projection of the universe's cosmological event horizon. So think of it as being caused by turbulence the "blast wave" produced by the big bang.

No idea what that means (5, Funny)

Sigvatr (1207234) | about 8 months ago | (#45663449)

I have no idea what any of this stuff means, but I'm going to post it on my Facebook and claim that this is what I thought all along anyway.

Re:No idea what that means (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663527)

It means we're living in a Star Trek episode.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_in_a_Bottle_(Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation) [wikipedia.org]

Re:No idea what that means (4, Informative)

PieEye (667629) | about 8 months ago | (#45663643)

"Computer: end program."

Re:No idea what that means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663679)

OMG, the safety protocols have been disabled...

Re:No idea what that means (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663715)

Ok, so when Riker was mackin' on the smokin' hot biddy in the red dress, lets say the two started knocking boots and he climaxed inside her. What happens to his seed when the program ends? Does the Holodeck recycle it for foodstuffs later, or does it just fall to the floor?

Re: No idea what that means (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663861)

I think they beam it back into his balls.

Re: No idea what that means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663967)

OMG... Probably the funniest thing I've read on /. in a month! Thank you, AC!

Re:No idea what that means (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663869)

Wesley has to mop it up.

Re:No idea what that means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663879)

It's obviously beamed into the Capt.'s Earl Grey.

Re: No idea what that means (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663947)

Anytime someone ejaculates in the holo deck a tribble is born. The only explanation of their exponential population growth.

Re:No idea what that means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663769)

Personally, I'd liken it more to The Big Goodbye [wikipedia.org] , since our position (unless you know more than you're letting on) is closer to the holographic McNary, presented with technology far beyond his understanding, than the presumably "real" Barclay or even Moriarty, who understand the technology but do not recognize signs of it in their universe. Which is amusing, since Barclay's final question was intended to provoke this kind of reaction in audiences at the time, while McNary was intended to be more "alien" to viewers than the Enterprise crew.

Re:No idea what that means (1)

VibratoryDavid (3419769) | about 8 months ago | (#45663555)

I have no idea what any of this stuff means, but I'm going to post it on my Facebook and claim that this is what I thought all along anyway.

We could be the best of friends

Re:No idea what that means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663647)

I have no idea what any of this stuff means, but I'm going to post it on my Facebook and claim that this is what I thought all along anyway.

Look above your head. See that floating green diamond? That means the brilliant idea you just had, wasn't yours. Wait for it to go away, then go piss in the corner. Everything will be fine.

Re:No idea what that means (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663673)

I have no idea what any of this stuff means, but I'm going to post it on my Facebook and claim that this is what I thought all along anyway.

people like you and the yuppie chuckleheads who think you're funny, who think you define the very standards of what is amusing since you smugly agree with each other and can't imagine it any other way ... you're the reason people like me post NIGGER everywhere.

it really has nothing to do with hating black people. you fuckin nigger!

Re:No idea what that means (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663785)

Mod parent up. I call them hipster doofus niggers. But to each their own.

Re:No idea what that means (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663901)

Ah, so it's because you're delusional. All these years I was wondering!

Re:No idea what that means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663681)

It means the universe is a roll of film flipping in front of a light to show a movie. Except that it's a step better than the 3D movie craze, it's a 3D that doesn't require fancy glasses or sitting in exactly one spot to watch.

This is were the scientist asks if we can get off the film, the engineer starts plans to make a holographic 3D film to try it out, and the philosopher asks who is watching the film.

Re:No idea what that means (3, Funny)

CreatureComfort (741652) | about 8 months ago | (#45663775)

I just wanna sell popcorn.

Re:No idea what that means (1)

Quasimodem (719423) | about 8 months ago | (#45663927)

So who do I have to fook to get out of this lousy movie?

Re:No idea what that means (2, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#45663741)

It means that, when the Oracle told Neo, "there is no spoon," she was more correct than neither she nor the Jackson brothers could have possibly imagined.

Re:No idea what that means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663849)

Oracle [...] the Jackson brothers

They both made a lot of wheird crap, but neighter Larry Ellison nor the Jackson brothers had anything to to with the matrix...

so does this mean.... (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 8 months ago | (#45663453)

The matrix is real???

Re:so does this mean.... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663545)

It changes nothing since it's always been more probable that we're in a simulation than not. If there is only one real world and we can create a complete simulation of it, then we can run a second simulation of it. If there's two simulations and one real world, it's more likely you're in one of the simulations than in the real world.

Personally, I'd rather be living on the event horizon of a 4D black hole instead of someone's hologram. Are these two theories mutually exclusive?

Re:so does this mean.... (1)

muphin (842524) | about 8 months ago | (#45663621)

Does that mean,
"Dimensions" are alternate simulations, like we do with super computers? parallel processing.

Re:so does this mean.... (4, Insightful)

Kielistic (1273232) | about 8 months ago | (#45663783)

I think it's more probable that you just have no idea what you're talking about.

Re:so does this mean.... (1)

Quasimodem (719423) | about 8 months ago | (#45663963)

That is my go to supposition in almost every news story --- especially those involving science.

Re:so does this mean.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663865)

It changes nothing since it's always been more probable that we're in a simulation than not. If there is only one real world and we can create a complete simulation of it, then we can run a second simulation of it. If there's two simulations and one real world, it's more likely you're in one of the simulations than in the real world.

Personally, I'd rather be living on the event horizon of a 4D black hole instead of someone's hologram. Are these two theories mutually exclusive?

You saying that we are "living" out someone's sick little game? Are they enjoying watching us in their sim environment? They really get a kick out of people posting what they ate for breakfast on Facebook and Twitter?

Re:so does this mean.... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 8 months ago | (#45663959)

I like that argument and generally support it, but there is no reason to believe this (simulated) universe's physics resemble in any way that in the "real super-universe".

Our apparent inability to understand the physical basis for the subjective conscious experience, which logically must have a physical basis, being a real phenomenon, and the curiously bizarre speed limit (perhaps to prevent universal dominance of any one government or dictator?) both suggest "its the way it's been done for billions of years".

If the physical substrate for our consciousness is the proverbial brain in a vat, that physics could be completely separate in kind from that which is shoved in our faces.

Oh, it's a lot older than that. (3, Interesting)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 8 months ago | (#45663573)

Quite a lot older. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Oh, it's a lot older than that. (1)

chemical55 (446280) | about 8 months ago | (#45663667)

and not so much older http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_on_a_Wire

Re:Oh, it's a lot older than that. (3, Insightful)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about 8 months ago | (#45663739)

Oh, nonsense. The Matrix is not an accurate description of this theory, and Plato's metaphor is only coincidentally similar in outline to it.

Your point is like people who say, "the Old Testament forbids the eating of shellfish like shrimp, and we know now that shrimp is high in cholesterol, so that book is an excellent source of dietary wisdom."

Re:Oh, it's a lot older than that. (1)

mrbester (200927) | about 8 months ago | (#45663833)

Except that shrimp are high in "good" cholesterol...

Re:so does this mean.... (4, Insightful)

Common Joe (2807741) | about 8 months ago | (#45663733)

I read the FTA and I didn't get any proof that we were living in a simulation at all. The article basically says some physicists ran two simulations for a black hole -- one with quantum theory (single dimension) and the other with a (more traditional) 10-dimensional model. The results matched.

Several take aways: 1) Great work by the physicists 2) I thought the standard models had eleven dimensions and not ten 3) I still don't know what they are talking about because this stuff is way beyond me 4) There is no mention about whether this proves one way or another that our universe is a hologram or a simulation.

The FTA is throwing around the word hologram, but IMHO that is a bit a stretch. Or maybe I don't know the official scientific definition of a hologram.

Re:so does this mean.... (1)

Common Joe (2807741) | about 8 months ago | (#45663795)

FTA = The friggin article.

I don't feel that tired, but I think my comment speaks for itself. I need to go take me a one dimensional holo-nap or something.

Re:so does this mean.... (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 8 months ago | (#45663951)

I always thought hologram implied that a piece was a picture of the whole.

The headline made me picture extrapolating the universe from a piece of cake like HHGTTG.

Re:so does this mean.... (5, Informative)

lgw (121541) | about 8 months ago | (#45663997)

Eleven vs Ten dimensions is at the heart of the "hologram" thing. The universe as a hologram (nothing at all to do with a simulation) is a metaphor for how the math worked out in a very surprising way from two different directions.

In the study of black holes, a block hole represents the maximum entropy is is possible to have in a given volume. That there is a maximum possible information needed to completely describe a volume of space. Surprisingly that limit grows with surface area, not volume. By analogy, this is like saying you could take a holographic recording of a volume at its surface, and completely reconstruct the volume from that data. But the "holographic universe" is just an analogy for the very odd result that all the information describing a volume of space "fits" in 2 dimensions. It's best not to read too much into that because the limit here is really quite high, the maximum possible information is on the order of the surface area of a sphere measured in plank-lengths - vastly more bits than is likely relevant to anything.

Inspired by this work, but in completely unrelated theory, it was found that the 11-diminsional quantum model can be completely captured in a 10-diminsional model that includes gravity. The presence of gravity in the universe "flattens" the state needed to describe it by one dimension. This was to me a much more interesting result that the black hole result (because the numbers there were so high it wasn't really a limit at all). Qualitatively all this is not that surprising in glorious hindsight, because gravity does limit the possible ways to arrange matter in the universe: black holes mean any arrangement with too much too close together collapses the information needed to describe it into just a few numbers. How that translates into needing 1 less dimension in quantum mechanics is far beyond me.

Does this Mean that String Theory... (2)

occasional_dabbler (1735162) | about 8 months ago | (#45663467)

...is no longer not even wrong ? [columbia.edu]

Re:Does this Mean that String Theory... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663599)

There's lots of good debate about string theory, but that blog is just shallow bitterness. String theory is more like calculus than an actual model. It is used to create models, which can be tested. Calculus can be used to create models which are right and models which are wrong too, but no one goes around saying "calculus isn't science", because pedantic silliness.

Re:Does this Mean that String Theory... (0)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#45663819)

I am not a physicist, but my layman's understanding of string theory is that most physicist don't understand what it is, there's a bunch of different variations on it, and you could never prove that it was right or wrong.

Every time someone has tried to explain it to me, I'm left with the distinct impression it's voodoo that is not something you could falsify or verify.

To me, a simulation suggesting we could be a hologram is self serving, and bears no actual relation to the real world.

I'm probably entirely wrong on this, but I tend to assume that any model which says our universe is a simulation (or whatever) is just gibberish and cute math tricks.

Re:Does this Mean that String Theory... (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 8 months ago | (#45663961)

To me it doesn't change anything. This is about possible details of implementation of the universe, very useful scientifically, not so much philosophically.

You have a black box with I/O. You experience the output and can tweak the input. This piece of news says one can find a model that explains how the output behaves.
You can ask yourself "is the black box containing the circuitry that implements my model"? But you have to stop there, as you still don't have access to the box. It could be the circuitry you imagined, it could be something completely different.

Re:Does this Mean that String Theory... (2)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 8 months ago | (#45663993)

No, it is still not even wrong, but we are closer to knowing if it could be right or wrong. This is not strong evidence, let alone proof, of string theory. This just gives it a way to be more compatible with relativity. The problem is that it could be just a good approximation of something else.

Worse news is sure to follow. (4, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 8 months ago | (#45663479)

Not only is the universe a hologram, it is actually contained inside R2D2.

Then they will tell you it is recursive too.

But it happened long time ago and in a galaxy far away.

Recursive (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663615)

It's R2D2 all the way down, man.

Re:Recursive (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#45663757)

It's hologram-projecting robot turtles all the way down, man.

Ah, much better.

Re:Recursive (3, Funny)

CreatureComfort (741652) | about 8 months ago | (#45663801)

The hot grits are still real to me, dammit!

Re:Worse news is sure to follow. (4, Funny)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about 8 months ago | (#45663773)

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope.

wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663495)

why oh why are scientists wasting time on this? one step at at time, for now figure out how to cure cancer before worrying about the big picture. you must unzip your pants before worrying about how much piss comes out

Re:wow (5, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 8 months ago | (#45663547)

I hate to tell you but not all scientists are doctors, and also cancer is not the only issue that is affecting us today. The more we understand about the universe, the more we understand about ourselves.

In other words, what are YOU doing to cure cancer since you think that "scientists" should focus on cancer instead of XX.

Re:wow (4, Insightful)

peon_a-z,A-Z,0-9$_+! (2743031) | about 8 months ago | (#45663557)

why oh why are scientists wasting time on this? one step at at time, for now figure out how to cure cancer before worrying about the big picture. you must unzip your pants before worrying about how much piss comes out

Really???? If all "scientists" thought like that then we wouldn't be in a position to even KNOW what *cancer* is. We'd be stuck on a problem prior to that hundreds of years ago.

Science is all about looking far and wide for answers. Sometimes things are immediately applicable to your specific problem/condition/annoyance/life, but sometimes they aren't.

Applied science / engineering is more about solutions to your specific problem. Perhaps you can go ask the bio-medical engineers to hurry it up, but leave the scientists alone!

Re:wow (4, Insightful)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 8 months ago | (#45663559)

why are you wasting time reading Slashdot? Millions of children are dying in Africa as we speak. You must go help them before worrying about anything else.

Re:wow (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663655)

Well I was wasting time reading it for fun but now I'm doing it out of gut-wrenching depression that I'm not doing anything worthwhile.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663597)

Why cancer? Why not aids? Or ebola? Or the common cold?

Actually, since you are telling people who have no skills related to biology that they should just suddenly jump ship and try and cure cancer, what are you doing to that end? Let me guess, you're the PHB who yells at everyone else to "just do it"?

Re:wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663765)

Whoosh!

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663641)

Yes, but I only worry about how much piss comes out when I'm unable to unzip my pants. Once I'm able to unzip my pants, it doesn't matter how much piss comes out.

Re:wow (1)

ichthus (72442) | about 8 months ago | (#45663725)

But, don't you see? This shows that cancer is just part of a simulation. Now, we just need to figure out a way to break out of the simulation (like Neo) and... will the cancer to be gone... or something.

(I'm rolling my eyes as I type this. This whole simulation premise is just a modern rehash of ancient philosophical machination.)

Re:wow (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 8 months ago | (#45663975)

Don't you understand? There's a hologram which contains everything about the world. Including how to cure cancer. And those scientists are just starting to understand how to read it.

In a hologram... (1)

stkpogo (799773) | about 8 months ago | (#45663549)

There's no room for physicists.

Flat like a shell. (2)

PaddyM (45763) | about 8 months ago | (#45663567)

It's turtles all the way down to turtle prime which is a comic book.

Re:Flat like a shell. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663629)

Conveniently, the turtles are too small to observe in an experiment.

Re:Flat like a shell. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663777)

PARROTRON WILL CRACK THE SHELL OF TURTLE PRIME LIKE AN EGG!

stupid caps filter stupid caps filter stupid caps filter stupid caps filter stupid caps filter

Re:Flat like a shell. (1)

hguorbray (967940) | about 8 months ago | (#45663873)

guess that means that we are actually in flatland http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatland

-I'm just sayin'

2 D projection? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663577)

So the flat earth society is right?

Re:2 D projection? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 8 months ago | (#45663989)

No, because the projection is on the inside of the hollow earth. ;-)

On Other Dimensions (4, Informative)

SumDog (466607) | about 8 months ago | (#45663587)

A lot of people might find this a little hokey, especially coming from the journal Nature. The biggest thing to overcome is science fictions deception of other dimensions. A dimension is just another direction. We know about the six directions we can currently move in (3 dimensions) plus time (which we always move forward through at a constant rate; you can slow down how fast you move through time relative to everything else, but it's not noticeable unless you can afford a very very fast vehicle). Here's a great explanation of extra dimensions:

http://www.phdcomics.com/tv/#010

The other "Things explained" videos are also really good for understanding more complex physics concepts.

Re:On Other Dimensions (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663749)

I can move in an infinite* number of directions, but in 3D space I can put in one point only 3 lines which are perpendicular to each other.

If we have more dimensions, we just replace the word "perpendicular" with "orthogonal".

--
* Or a very very high number if space is finite & discrete.

Re:On Other Dimensions (1)

peon_a-z,A-Z,0-9$_+! (2743031) | about 8 months ago | (#45663937)

WOOOSH

Re:On Other Dimensions (1)

Pro923 (1447307) | about 8 months ago | (#45663941)

I've often considered that there are more than just 3 (directional) dimensions in space. Gravity has the tendency to pull matter into as few dimensions as it can. Large balls of matter (planets/stars) are spherical (or really as much of a 1-dimensional point as is allowed by the inability for matter to occupy the same space). Solar systems and galaxies are eventually (more or less) 2 dimensional. Yes there are spherical galaxies, but "you're not thinking 4'th dimensionally" - they won't be that way eventually. The universe itself may have been many dimensions for some time after the big bang, but gravity has pulled most of the matter into the same 3 dimensions. It's possible that the universe is the analogous equivalent of a warped record - entire galaxies unseen to us because the light emitted by the stars aren't in the same 4'th dimension plane as our 3 dimensional eyes. Cosmic rays - pieces of matter that come at us from high speeds far away - could be oscillating back and forth through our plane, which would explain how they can pass through matter (they don't pass through our matter - they go around it). A lot of interesting ideas can be more easily realized if you reduce the number of dimensions. Pretend that we're 2 dimensional beings living on a 2 dimensional plane - with 2 dimensional light sources (sun). Anything slightly above or below that plane would be invisible to us - even though it's gravity would have an effect. We would really have no way to access these other physical directions - since our limbs and anything else that we have access to can only produce momentum in our 2 dimensions. Think about (I haven't been able to get this one) - if you were such a 2 dimensional being, how could you move yourself or some thing in that 3'rd dimension? What would you see?

Re:On Other Dimensions (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#45664009)

time (which we always move forward through at a constant rate

I think of it as: we always move through spacetime at a constant rate - you can change the direction of your path relative to anything else, which leads to time dilation as you do swap motion through (another relatively moving observer's) time for motion through (another relatively moving observer's) space. Except time is inverted and wibbly wobbly and there is stuff.

no one behind the curtain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663589)

just goo & new clear charges plus the undefeatable spirit of creation.. never a better time to consult with momkind our spiritual centerpeace. free the innocent stem cells they have harmed no one.

if we like our current smoke & mirrors.......

Horseshit (-1, Flamebait)

sexconker (1179573) | about 8 months ago | (#45663607)

The universe is not a hologram stored on a flat plane.
Holograms are not stored in 2 dimensions.
If you project a hologram you have to project it onto something.

Physicists need to stop tugging their dicks in mathematical fancy and start developing ways to TEST things.
The shit they trot out now is more absurd than humors or celestial spheres.

Re:Horseshit (1, Insightful)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#45663737)

Holograms are not projected 'onto' something.
They 'materialize' in thin air, that is the point about a hologram. (Hollow != Solid)

Re:Horseshit (4, Insightful)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 8 months ago | (#45663743)

You do realize that quantum mechanics were met with similar derision? Heck, Einstein never really accepted the notion, and that's as great a scientist as we've ever had. It took years to devise experiments that could validate quantum mechanics' existence.

This isn't to say that this theory is right or wrong, merely that groundbreaking theories almost invariably will look like "mathematical fancy" to most people (especially those with "get off my lawn!" syndrome) and will be met with confusion or denial by a lot of others, including respected scientists. It's crazy, but it might just work. Remember: the universe wasn't designed so that our puny minds would find it logical or straightforward. It just is.

Re:Horseshit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663923)

It took years to devise experiments that could validate quantum mechanics' existence.

Should you read the actual source papers, it still has not been proven. All of the experiments to date have had loopholes, loose ends, and can be partially or completely explained by much simpler theories that have already been proven to work time and again. No isolation of all variables by the very nature of quantum mechanics does not excuse it from the burden of proof. Too many physicists are bending the rules to make quantum theories work while handwaving and toting out 'its complicated' or 'its weird'.

Without integrity of work, following logical progressions, and creating proofs and experiments that are on par with what is expected, quantum mechanics will go the way of alchemy. Something the greatest minds of the time spend most of their effort learning about, yet it is fantasy.

Re:Horseshit (2)

hopffiber (3460857) | about 8 months ago | (#45663827)

Nobody is saying that the universe is precisely a hologram stored on a flat plane, so before you call it horseshit, you could try to read what they are actually saying. Also, the particular theory they are talking about here has actually been tested, at least somewhat: people used it to compute some stuff about gluon plasma, which they then tested against LHC data, and it matched quite well. So the theories do work, and they can be used to compute real predictions.

Relax (1)

UneducatedSixpack (2829861) | about 8 months ago | (#45663831)

You are having typical type mismatch and buffer overflow. Relax. My brain fried when I heard about quantum theory. I do not try to understand physics anymore. Somebody will find a way to test all these crazy theories one day. Then we will live in a parallel universe and real estate on earth will be really cheap.

Re:Horseshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663875)

All 3D holograms can be stored in two dimensions. Stop "debunking" science you do not even begin to grasp the faintest notion of.

Re:Horseshit (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#45663909)

The universe is not a hologram stored on a flat plane.
Holograms are not stored in 2 dimensions.
If you project a hologram you have to project it onto something.

Ummm ... from what I recall of linear algebra (and possibly a little calculus), a hologram is a special case of a projection onto a plane, only your 'plane' is now 3 dimensions. And you can keep extending that ad nauseum -- as in you can project 7 dimensions onto 4 dimensions too, if you can figure out a way to make that mean something to you.

In which case I think they're talking about projection from n-dimensions onto m-dimensions, where m < n and n=9 in this case.

It's not a plane per-se. It's a smaller set of dimensions with a representation of something in higher dimensions. Relative to 4 dimensions, 3 dimensions is a 'plane' (I forget the mathematical term).

Physicists need to stop tugging their dicks in mathematical fancy and start developing ways to TEST things.

Well, at a certain point, theoretical physics devolves into abstract math, and people trying to come up with models which explain what we see.

I mostly agree with you, because string theory always seems like it's so abstract as to serve no purpose. However, I'm also not qualified to do the math and fully follow the logic behind it.

3 Previous Articles on /. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663627)

The Universe is Flat (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663649)

So beyond the obvious faults with this oversimplification, the Universe is Flat? Perhaps not in the way a table is flat... but still.

How about (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 8 months ago | (#45663693)

String theory et al give us some testable predictions? Until then its just a crock of bullshit that has wasted 30 years of physics (though certainly enhanced the bottom line of many a journal).

Now I know! (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#45663705)

... where my evil twin is residing!

They're talking about the AdS/CFT corresondence. (5, Informative)

BitterOak (537666) | about 8 months ago | (#45663711)

There's more about it here [wikipedia.org] . This recent work basically suggests that the theory might be true. It is a doubly useful theory in that it allows certain difficult problems in string theory to be solved in the language of conformal field theories and vice versa. If nothing else, it means string theory can be used as a computational tool in certain problems of condensed matter physics even if string theory doesn't pan out as a theory for quantum gravity. But it also makes string theory more likely as a theory for quantum gravity as it makes it in some sense compatible with the holographic principle, which among other things provides a solution to the information paradox [wikipedia.org] of black holes.

Re:They're talking about the AdS/CFT corresondence (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 8 months ago | (#45663921)

It's somewhat disturbing to me that in addition to not understanding the summary, I also don't understand your explanation or for that matter, what the topic under discussion even might be (other than some vague physics thing).

Also I realized apparently I don't know what a holograph is.

If the universe is just a simulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45663751)

Can I get a few minutes with the source code and a quick reboot?

Wrong again! (-1, Offtopic)

s.petry (762400) | about 8 months ago | (#45663753)

How many times are people going to publish this same set of crap and call it science? Or is it the same idiots trotting out the same piece of crap trying to convince people it's science? It's simple, Descartes was right and you are wrong. The Universe is not a big computer simulation, and you do exist. I realize that we don't teach Philosophy like we used to, but dang if people should not get a clue.

Computer -- Arch! (1)

sandbagger (654585) | about 8 months ago | (#45663793)

Of course, this could mean that half of the potential alternative projections of reality will turn out to be slightly shittier versions of what we have now.

But the other half will have jet packs and rocket cars! And no marketing directors!

One problem (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 8 months ago | (#45663825)

Now that we are searching for evidence of this hologram, and may be close to establishing something approaching 'proof', won't the folks projecting the hologram alter the program to make it more difficult for us to determine if we are living in a hologram and thus negate our findings which will lead us to do more research and in turn cause the hologram to be changed again? Rinse and repeat.

Ampletuhedrons? (3, Interesting)

Kismet (13199) | about 8 months ago | (#45663857)

Is this related to the work that Arkani Hamed and Trnka are doing with Ampletuhedrons? They have discovered a geometry that simplifies calculations and that suggests space and time might not be fundamental to physics.

What this means (5, Informative)

Fuseboy (414663) | about 8 months ago | (#45663889)

Someone clever was working out the maximum entropy of a black hole, and found that (unexpectedly) it was proportional to the surface area of the event horizon, not its volume. After some more thought, other clever people found that the full state of every particle that falls into a black hole remains encoded as oscillations and deformations of its surface area.

This leads to the realization that the despite the fact that a black hole's event horizon is seemingly much simpler than a full-dimensional portion of a universe, it's theoretically possible that it's just as rich a simulation. Perhaps the "real" representation of the universe is actually just a rippling membrane, and the 3D view we see around us is just an alternate interpretation. This is where the word "hologram" comes in - it's only an analogy (because flattish holograms seem to encode 3D data).

Now, the word "real" is misleading - neither representation is 'more true', it's just that the fewer-dimensional representation might be a lot simpler. A comparable situation is the way the earth goes around the sun, or the sun goes around the earth. A stationary sun makes models of the planetary orbits a heck of a lot simpler, but a stationary earth makes it a lot easier to give directions to your party.

All of this was theoretical until this recent finding. The researches created two mathematical models of the universe - one of them ten-dimensional (similar to some forms of modern theories of our universe, though the article points out their model was simpler). The other model was a one-dimensional universe filled with ideal springs. These models were identical, in the same way as the 3D universe and the event horizon - they're alternate ways of calculating the same thing.

The researchers discovered that simulations in both of these universe models have the same output - in other words, they do seem to be different ways of describing the same universe.

So is actually a Rimmerverse? (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 8 months ago | (#45663893)

and earth is Rimmer world?

They're wrong (1)

maroberts (15852) | about 8 months ago | (#45663943)

People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... timey wimey... stuff.

I don't have the language to explain it... (5, Interesting)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 8 months ago | (#45663965)

The way I think of the universe, is like a 11 dimensional sphere of putty, that got hit with a hammer. (aka the big bang).

So, the sphere got deformed spraying outward in 3 dimensions (space) while flying off into a 4th (time) and the other 7 dimensions got compressed.

A Particle is a bit of energy caught in a loop around some number of those 7 dimensions, each combination of possible wrapping gives a different fundamental particle, with antiparticles having the same wrap, but opposing spin.

Light/radio 'waves' are caused by the photons looping around one of the higher dimensions, not one of our 3 spatial dimensions, which is how it is travelling in a straight line space, yet still taking a wavering path; like a piece of string wrapped around an infinitesimally small cylinder.

But that's just my mental model, it work well enough to keep me from going mad (I think)

Nothing very new, and nothing about our universe (5, Insightful)

hopffiber (3460857) | about 8 months ago | (#45663969)

So, the headline is quite wrong. Nothing in this work has directly to do with our universe, nor does it show that we live in a hologram. What it does do is provide some further evidence for a string theory conjecture called AdS/CFT. This conjecture says that "string theory in d dimensions" is precisely the same as "conformal field theory in d-1 dimensions". This is cute, since it lets us calculate some things, for example, one might be interested in calculating something in some field theory, but it is very difficult to do. AdS/CFT lets us translate that thing into a string theory thing, which usually is easier to compute. So people working in condensed matter physics, particle physics and QCD are actually using this string theory conjecture as a computational tool. However, AdS/CFT tells us nothing about our universe, since we know that the type of string theories it talks about can't describe our universe. So it is "only" a useful toy model and computational tool. The article is about that some guys have run computer simulations to calculate something on both sides, so both on the string side, and in the field theory side, and what they get match, as it should if the conjecture is true. This is nice and lends further evidence to the conjecture, but there is plenty of other evidence already known, both numerical and theoretical. So I fail to see how this is important or newsworthy, it feels mostly like useless hype.

Stuff and nonsense (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45664005)

Faculty lounge masturbations of hyperdimensional holograms in search of tenure.

So basically (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45664007)

God is watching us on TV?

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