Thursday, January 15, 2009

"we are all living in a giant cosmic hologram."

NewScientist posted an article  today that has this curious line in it:   "If the GEO600 result is what I suspect it is, then we are all living in a giant cosmic hologram."

The GEO600 is an ongoing, 6-year German experiment attempting to 'catch' gravitational waves eminating from large space objects.  Spoiling the experiment [like Flemming's penicillin experiment] was a large set of interference coming from somewhere out in space. 

The story picks up from there:  For many months, the GEO600 team-members had been scratching their heads over inexplicable noise that is plaguing their giant detector. Then, out of the blue, a researcher approached them with an explanation. In fact, he had even predicted the noise before he knew they were detecting it. According to Craig Hogan, a physicist at the Fermilab particle physics lab in Batavia, Illinois, GEO600 has stumbled upon the fundamental limit of space-time - the point where space-time stops behaving like the smooth continuum Einstein described and instead dissolves into "grains", just as a newspaper photograph dissolves into dots as you zoom in. "It looks like GEO600 is being buffeted by the microscopic quantum convulsions of space-time," says Hogan.

If this doesn't blow your socks off, then Hogan, who has just been appointed director of Fermilab's Center for Particle Astrophysics, has an even bigger shock in store: "If the GEO600 result is what I suspect it is, then we are all living in a giant cosmic hologram."

The Beatles lyric comes to mind, "We all live in a yellow submarine." Back in the 90's two physicists Leonard Susskind and Gerard 't Hooft suggested that the same principle might apply to the universe as a whole. Our everyday experience might itself be a holographic projection of physical processes that take place on a distant, 2D surface.  Weird science for sure.

The article then loses me, at least at this late hour of the day, much like being trapped in a black hole which, in fact, consumes much of the rest of this story.

Lefty Blogs