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Is the universe a hologram?

  1. Nov 16, 2011 #1
    I've always been fascinated by black holes. I have recently leared something new about them. It is regards to whether or not information that enters a black hole is lost or somehow preserverd? This is an important question because if it is the former case, then black holes would violate the law of the conservation of information, a super basic law.
    What I cam to find out is that the information that falls into a black hole becomes stored, or smeard, around the suface (horizon) of the black hole itself. And that this ended a really long debate ragarding the matter.
    I think I understand the concept well enough. A black hole acts like a stopwactch in a sense. Anwyway, something about this idea seems to suggest that the universe works like a hologram. In that the information it contains (or is), can be stored on a low dimensional sruface, and then projected outward. I was wondering if anyone could clarify some of the finer points of this idea. Specifcly, how does the fact that information becomes stored on the surface of the black hole seem to imply a (hologromiphic?) universe? And what would something like that mean?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 7, 2015 #2
    I recently watched an episode on the Science channel where some scientists stated that they believe we might live in a hologram. How can this be? I can feel and touch objects around me. They look 3-dimensional. How can the physical world be just representations of information?
  4. Aug 7, 2015 #3
    Natural selection selected your ancestors because their brains best understood the information it was taking in. Evolution does not care whether they way that you represent things in your mind has any relationship to the universe as it actually is, it only cares about what helps you survive. You because you can see something, touch it... doesn't mean that's not an effect of something else. You've never actually touched anything. You've felt the electromagnetic repulsion of atoms in your skin to atoms in objects.

    Also be careful about what you see on tv, writers exaggerate things. I literally heard this yesterday watching a documentary on Saturn.

    Narrator: This chemistry could be indicate life, some scientists say we've already found it.
    Scientist from NASA: The chemistry we see MIGHT be EVIDENCE of life.

    When a narrator says a scientists "believes" something. Take it with a grain of salt, I doubt any scientist believes we live in a holographic universe, we have little evidence for that. If TV says a scientist believes that we live in a hologram, what I take from it is that a scientist believes he has evidence that we might live in a hologram, and I'll bet if you find the words the scientist actually said, he or she chose their words differently and purposefully.

    Some narrators are involved in writing the script and are more careful with their words because they understood what they are talking about: David Attenborough, Neil DeGrass Tyson, Carl Sagan... Some narrators read a script prepared for them because they have a great voice: Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, Morgan Freeman.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015
  5. Aug 7, 2015 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    I'm not sure all physicists would agree that the debate is ended. We still don't have a good theory of quantum gravity, and we would need one to know for sure that the proposed resolution you describe of the black hole information paradox is correct.

    I'm not sure what you mean by this.

    As newjerseyrunner pointed out, this is not what scientists actually believe. Nobody believes there is a "projector" that takes information on a black hole horizon, or a cosmological horizon, and projects it out as the 3-dimensional universe we observe and experience. At least, nobody believes it to the point of actually advocating it in a peer-reviewed scientific paper. (What is said in pop science specials on TV is another matter, but that's why those aren't reliable sources for the actual science.)
  6. Aug 7, 2015 #5


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    Well, Leonard Susskind seems to have some thoughts on that idea...

  7. Aug 8, 2015 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    Necropost alert!

    alex2515's post is from November 2011, and he was last seen here at all (according to his profile) about a year later.
  8. Aug 9, 2015 #7
    I noticed the post was from 2011, but I'm interested in this topic anyway; so instead of creating a new thread, I just replied. A discussion in this thread will still be helpful to me. I have already bookmarked Dr. Susskind's lecture.
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