“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”― Arthur C. Clarke
Researchers at the University of Waterloo led by Professor Niayesh Afshordi are investigating irregularities in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), the ‘afterglow’ of the Big Bang. They have found, there is substantial evidence supporting a holographic explanation of the Universe.
In a study published in the journal Physical Review Letters(arXiv.org version), they showed ‘the first observational evidence that the Universe could be a complex hologram.’
“We are proposing using this holographic Universe, which is a very different model of the Big Bang than the popularly accepted one that relies on gravity and inflation,” Prof. Afshordi said in a statement.
“Each of these models makes distinct predictions that we can test as we refine our data and improve our theoretical understanding — all within the next five years.”
The first idea of a holographic Universe, was first suggested in the 1990s. It's where all the information can be seen saying, 3D ‘reality’ is contained in a 2D surface on its boundaries.
“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,” explained co-author Prof. Kostas Skenderis, from the University of Southampton, UK, to Sci-news.
“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!”
Instead seeing it as a perfect example with holographic properties, it is rather like watching a 3D film in a cinema.
“We see the pictures as having height, width and crucially, depth – when in fact it all originates from a flat 2D screen. The difference, in our 3D Universe, is that we can touch objects and the ‘projection’ is ‘real’ from our perspective,” the researchers said.
The past years, new technologies in telescopes and sensing equipment have allowed experts to identify a huge amount of data hidden in the microwaves that were left from the moment the Universe was created.
Prof. Afshordi, Prof. Skenderis and co-authors used these informattion to make complex comparisons between networks of features in the data and quantum field theory.
They learned that some of the simplest quantum field theories may be behind nearly all cosmological observations of the early Universe.
“The key to understanding quantum gravity is understanding field theory in one lower dimension. Holography is like a Rosetta Stone, translating between known theories of quantum fields without gravity and the uncharted territory of quantum gravity itself,” Prof. Afshordi said.
“Holography is a huge leap forward in the way we think about the structure and creation of the Universe,” Prof. Skenderis added.
“Einstein’s theory of general relativity explains almost everything large scale in the Universe very well, but starts to unravel when examining its origins and mechanisms at quantum level.”
“Scientists have been working for decades to combine Einstein’s theory of gravity and quantum theory. Some believe the concept of a holographic Universe has the potential to reconcile the two. I hope our research takes us another step towards this.”