Is the Universe a Holographic Illusion?
Some physicists have proposed that the entire universe is not real, but a holographic illusion. Now astrophysicist Craig Hogan is building a machine to test that hypothesis:
Possible evidence for this model appeared last year in the unaccountable “noise” plaguing the GEO600 experiment in Germany, which searches for gravitational waves from black holes. To Hogan, the jitteriness suggested that the experiment had stumbled upon the lower limit of the spacetime pixels’ resolution.
Black hole physics, in which space and time become compressed, provides a basis for math showing that the third dimension may not exist at all. In this two-dimensional cartoon of a universe, what we perceive as a third dimension would actually be a projection of time intertwined with depth. If this is true, the illusion can only be maintained until equipment becomes sensitive enough to find its limits.[...]
“So we want to build a machine which will be the most sensitive measurement ever made of spacetime itself,” says Hogan. “That’s the holometer.”[...]
In the holometer, this loss of sync looks like a shaking or vibrations that represent jitters in spacetime itself, like the fuzziness of radio coming over too little bandwidth.
The holometer’s precision means that it doesn’t have to be large; at 40 meters in length, it is only one hundredth of the size of current interferometers, which measure gravitational waves from black holes and supernovas. Yet because the spacetime frequencies it measures are so rapid, it will be more precise over very short time intervals by seven orders of magnitude than any atomic clock in existence.