Astronomy, Cosmology, The Universe

Are We Living In Holographic Universe? New Study Shows It’s Possible

An international team of scientists believe that new data supports the idea that our universe could be a hologram.

A study published in the Physical Review Letters seems to indicate that the argument for a holographic universe is just a strong as that of our standard cosmological model.

While it’s an astonishing claim, it doesn’t mean that our entire reality is a fabrication. Rather the holographic universe argument maintains that we need to rethink the way we envision our universe; specifically being that the holographic principle states that properties of three-dimensional universe’ could be encoded on a two dimensional surface.

“Imagine that everything you see, feel and hear in three dimensions (and your perception of time) in fact emanates from a flat two-dimensional field.The idea is similar to that of ordinary holograms where a three-dimensional image is encoded in a two-dimensional surface, such as in the hologram on a credit card. However, this time, the entire universe is encoded.”

– Professor Kostas Skenderis, University of Southampton

Cosmic background radiation mapped by the Planck telescope. (ESA, Planck Collaboration)

Research was tested against observations of the early universe made by the ESA’s Planck observatory. Some of the findings for the holographic theory universe did not add up, but for the most part the models satisfied the speculations.

“The structure of these deviations encodes the physics of the very early universe,” says Skenderis. “So then the question is, if you have a theory for the very early universe, can you predict the structure of the small deviations?”

A sketch of the timeline of the holographic universe. Time runs from left to right. The far left denotes the holographic phase and the image is blurry because space and time are not yet well defined. (Paul McFadden)

“When we go into this concept of holography, it’s a new way of thinking about things. Even the scientists who worked on this for the past 20 years don’t have the right tools or the right language to describe what’s going on. It’s a new paradigm for a physical reality.”

“I would argue this is the simplest theory of the early universe. And so far, this is as simple as it gets. And it could help explain everything we see,” says Niayesh Afshordi, lead author of the paper. This idea, contrasted with Occam’s razor – a scientific and philosophic principle that maintains the simplest explanation is usually the correct one – paints a thought provoking picture. We may very well be living in a hologram.

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Jamie is an amateur astronomer and every day space geek.