Are We Living in a Hologram? - OZY | A Modern Media Company

The holographic theory of the universe was first modeled in 1997 by theoretical astrophysicist Juan Maldacena, currently at New Jersey’s Institute for Advanced Study. Maldacena was tackling two of the central theories of physics by building a mathematical model of the universe consisting of a five-dimensional inner region bounded by a four-dimensional plane with no gravity. We know it’s hard to imagine them — but the important part is that these regions differed vastly from each other.

And then, a surprise: They were actually more alike than Maldacena had expected. Each tiny subatomic particle in the 5-D inner universe had a counterpart in the 4-D, gravity-free cosmos far beyond its horizon. In other words, both the 5-D and 4-D parts of his model represented the same information — similar to the way both the 2-D, holographic surface on which an image of an object is imprinted and the 3-D image that appears both represent the same object. 

Like Maldacena’s model, our universe has a limit. Beyond it, the universe is expanding faster than the speed of light — much faster than what we can scientifically observe. Taking that parallel a step further, Maldacena’s findings offered evidence that the part of the universe we can see might be a hologram of a two-dimensional, gravityless plane.

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