During the hunt for the predicted ripples in space-time — known as gravitational waves — physicists stumbled across a rather puzzling phenomenon. Last year, I reported about the findings of scientists using the GEO600 experiment in Germany. Although the hi-tech piece of kit hadn’t turned up evidence for the gravitational waves it was seeking, it did turn up a lot of noise.
Before we can understand what this “noise” is, we need to understand how equipment designed to look for the space-time ripples caused by collisions between black holes and supernova explosions.
Gravitational wave detectors are incredibly sensitive to the tiniest change in distance. For example, the GEO600 experiment can detect a fluctuation of an atomic radius over a distance from the Earth to the Sun. This is achieved by firing a laser down a 600 meter long tube where it is split, reflected and directed into an interferometer. The interferometer can detect the tiny phase shifts in the two beams of light predicted to occur should a gravitational wave pass through our local volume of space. This wave is theorized to slightly change the distance between physical objects. Should GEO600 detect a phase change, it could be indicative of a slight change in distance, thus the passage of a gravitational wave.
While looking out for a gravitational wave signal, scientists at GEO600 noticed something bizarre. There was inexplicable static in the results they were gathering. After canceling out all artificial sources of the noise, they called in the help of Fermilab’s Craig Hogan to see if his expertise of the quantum world help shed light on this anomalous noise. His response was as baffling as it was mind-blowing. “It looks like GEO600 is being buffeted by the microscopic quantum convulsions of space-time,” Hogan said.
The signal being detected by GEO600 isn’t a noise source that’s been overlooked, Hogan believes GEO600 is seeing quantum fluctuations in the fabric of space-time itself. This is where things start to get a little freaky.
According to Einstein’s view on the universe, space-time should be smooth and continuous. However, this view may need to be modified as space-time may be composed of quantum “points” if Hogan’s theory is correct. At its finest scale, we should be able to probe down the “Planck length” which measures 10-35 meters. But the GEO600 experiment detected noise at scales of less than 10-15 meters.
As it turns out, Hogan thinks that noise at these scales are caused by a holographic projection from the horizon of our universe. A good analogy is to think about how an image becomes more and more blurry or pixelated the more you zoom in on it. The projection starts off at Planck scale lengths at the Universe’s event horizon, but its projection becomes blurry in our local space-time. This hypothesis comes out of black hole research where the information that falls into a black hole is “encoded” in the black hole’s event horizon. For the holographic universe to hold true, information must be encoded in the outermost reaches of the Universe and it is projected into our 3 dimensional world.
But how can this hypothesis be tested? We need to boost the resolution of a gravitational wave detector-type of kit. Enter the “Holometer.”
Currently under construction in Fermilab, the Holometer (meaning holographic interferometer) will delve deep into this quantum realm at smaller scales than the GEO600 experiment. If Hogan’s idea is correct, the Holometer should detect this quantum noise in the fabric of space-time, throwing our whole perception of the Universe into a spin.
For more on this intriguing experiment, read the Symmety Magazine article “Hogan’s holometer: Testing the hypothesis of a holographic universe.”
14 thoughts on “Holographic Universe: Fermilab to Probe Smallest Space-Time Scales”
Wow crazy times were living in. stuff like this makes me wish i could take a quick peek at our world 50 years from now to see what advances we've made
If we are a holographic projection, could it be that our universe is realy the Hawking radiation emited from a prior universe that was consumed by a black hole? How does this idea “jive” with the 2D membraine theroy and string theroy? Sorry about the spelling LD don't ya know.
We know God left just enough “material”; just the right amount of data or seemingly hard evidence (left behind) to confound those who suffer from faithlessness, and yet, I'll still be a pinch disappointed if I/we discover that God was so cheap, that He would not (at the least) have created a real universe for His corporeal experiment!
When it comes to hacking the holographic universe a CRT beats an LCD screen hands down. I discovered this is because the electrostatic lens offered by the CRT when combined with spinning vortexes of the streaming electron holes left behind in the wake of an on screen slow-motion simulated nuclear reaction with a 24 degree magic angle and a wavelet of over six minutes and fourteen dimensions produces what I could only describe as “computational clairvoyance”. Look it up!
Okay, let me just get some clarification on what I'm trying to understand. Should scientists be able to measure the Planck Length, then it is confirmed that the universe is a holographic projection? And so the universe is really two dimensions with one more dimension “projected” to make it appear 3-d. Correct?
Yes. Reality is made up of tiny dancing grains. I have seen this intuitively since childhood. It can be frightening but we have not even touched upon the implications of the truth yet. What if it is all an illusion? We come out of nothing and return hence? That is not the case. What comes from nothing is nothing. Whatever reality may be; it is something. Minds are not just born and then disappear. There is more (and less) to us than we dream.
I've read Susskind's book The Black Hole Wars, and listened to the free podcast of his Silicon Valley Astronomy talk at http://www.astrosociety.org/education/podcast/index.htmlThis should give the laymen an introduction to the hologram we live in. I thought the double slit was weird. I thought Uncertainty was weird. I thought Quantum Mechanics was weird. The Holographic Universe idea is seriously weird.
I saw a holographic figure . Is this normal it was standing over me .
Perhaps it would be useful to look at the issue in a more neutral manner, namely that while the author has described ordinary space time as a 3-d projection of the information encoded at the horizon of the universe, you also should describe the information at the edge of the universe as a 2-d projection of space-time. Neither way of looking at how the information is encoded is more “real” than the other, and each is a “projection” of the other. (Actually, to be more precise, if we include time as a dimension, the information encoded at the horizon of the universe is encoded in 3 dimensions, and space-time has 4 dimensions).
Now let’s take all of this surmising one step further: What if every elementary particle in our space time is the outer horizon of an even smaller universe in the particle. Then every elementary particle in our universe would encode the information of a universe of 1 dimension more than our own. So each elementary particle should encode a 5-dimensional universe. In turn, every particle in that small 5- dimensional universe would encode a 6-dimensional universe. In essence, every elementary particle in any universe is a fractal of the universe. For this model to work, the quanta in a 5 dimensional universe must be far smaller than the quanta in a 4 dimensional universe, and so forth.
There are all sort of implications of such a model. For example, if a single quantum of energy or a single elementary particle can appear out of nothing, does that mean that a whole universe within it can appear out of nothing? Or, to look at another phenomenon, since evey universe would be expanding, elementary particles in any universe should be expanding (decaying?) and we would experience entropy. Perhaps there could be some explanation of dark energy or dark matter based on this model that makes more sense than the ideas that are commonly being tossed around.
So let me get this straight. What this is saying is that our perceived and determined reality, of which we are part, is a hologram projected from matter at the horizon of the Universe? Does this mean that all of the matter present / generated when the Universe was first created remained in the same location?
My wife read physics at University and from what she has said a hologram is generated using lasers (i.e. an energy source) reflected off the object surface. What source of energy is theorized to be responsible for the creating our reality hologram? Does this theory gel at all with the simulation theories that have been presented over the last few years?
That is a sensible question, in M Talbots holographic u, I can’t recall if this was addressed but I have yet to read Bohm in any depth. I am sure he addressed the problem. Science continues to confirm this duplicity of action at a distance, quantum entanglement. The basics, focused beam of intensive light is split, one part reflected again and again to end at surface with the pic from the part of the beam. The result is overlapping disturbances (frequencies, if you will) which stay that way until a second bright light beam is shown on the pic which morphs before our eyes into a pic our eyes recognize. I am aware you know this, it was more for my benefit, because if not holograph then must consider FTL.
In thinking about the energy source, I think we have overlooked the fact that the sun produces so much energy ( we get 2/1,000 of Sol’s energy)so perhaps there is a form we cannot yet detect? I can imagine an emission of focused light beams from Sol. I cannot accept energy input from novas 200 light years away. If FTL was possible they would be here as this planet is so strange in its ephemeral presentation of this phase of H2O, liquid. I also suspect our heliosheath is more of an energy envelope than we suspect, allowing charge from ionized gas such as Fluff on our doorstep, to charge the envelope, which in turn allows charge to be absorbed by exhausted solar particles that then return to the sun. In other words, I think the solar system is closed, and the border shrinks and expands in response to the energy injected into the envelope from the cosmos side. Low energy means that at some future time, the sun’s envelope will withdraw perhaps to the inner planets, exposing part of the system to ‘cosmic rays.’ High energy means that when the sun actually absorbs this input the magnetosphere out to the heliosheath will expand. So how long is this period of time? In the holographic universe, the loop proposed for the Sun is 11 years for a charge time, but perhaps hundreds of years for this loop?
Just an idea.
using several pixels?What shape are the pixels? What happens at the edge of each pixel, assuming they all touch another pixel? How does each pixel provide a coherent picture out of several pixels? Are there gaps between pixels?