The World is a hologram

Feb
19
2013
by
Lynne McTaggart
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Professor Craig Hogan of the University of Chicago and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory has embarked on a wildly ambitious project:  to demonstrate that a tiny bit of cosmic jiggling proves that the sticks-and-stones universe you see before yourself is a hologram.                      

To test this question, Hogan has employed two giant interferometers at Fermilab, developed by some researchers at MIT. In a classic laser hologram, a laser beam is split. One portion is reflected off an object - and say, an apple – and the other is reflected by several mirrors. They are then reunited and captured on a piece of photographic film. The result on the plate – which represents the interference pattern of these waves – resembles a strange set of concentric circles.

However, when you shine a light beam from the same kind of laser through the film, what you see is a fully realized, three-dimensional virtual image of the apple. (A perfect example is the image of Princess Leia, generated by R2D2 in Episode 4 first movie of the Stars Wars series).

 

Professor Craig Hogan of the University of Chicago and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory has embarked on a wildly ambitious project:  to demonstrate that a tiny bit of cosmic jiggling proves that the sticks-and-stones universe you see before yourself is a hologram.                      

To test this question, Hogan has employed two giant interferometers at Fermilab, developed by some researchers at MIT. In a classic laser hologram, a laser beam is split. One portion is reflected off an object - and say, an apple – and the other is reflected by several mirrors. They are then reunited and captured on a piece of photographic film. The result on the plate – which represents the interference pattern of these waves – resembles a strange set of concentric circles.

However, when you shine a light beam from the same kind of laser through the film, what you see is a fully realized, three-dimensional virtual image of the apple. (A perfect example is the image of Princess Leia, generated by R2D2 in Episode 4 first movie of the Stars Wars series).

How it works
The Holometer has two perpendicular arms, each 40m in length, and the beam-splitter sends a beam of light down each arm, which hit a mirror before reversing back where it came from and recombining with the other beam.

When two waves are in phase (that is, peaking and troughing at the same time), and bump into each other – technically called ‘interference’ – the combined intensity of the waves is greater than each individual amplitude. The signal gets stronger. This amounts to an imprinting or exchange of information, called ‘constructive interference’. If one is peaking when the other troughs, they tend to cancel each other out – called ‘destructive interference’.

With constructive interference, when all the waves are wiggling in synch, the light will get brighter; destructive interference will cancel out the light and result in complete darkness.
What Hogan is looking for is fluctuation in the intensity of the light once it recombines.  If a natural jitter in space-time occurs, the two beams of light will go in and out of phase, and the intensity of the re-combined beam of light will vary.   

The big idea
Hogan’s idea – that we are living in a giant hologram – stems from information showing that after the death of a star, the ‘information’ about this three-dimensional object is stored in the two-dimensional horizon of a black hole into which the star has vanished. But it also derives from Hogan’s assumption that at the subatomic level, space-time is two-dimensional and only emerges into three-dimensions at scale.   

The idea that the world is a hologram has been kicking around for at least 30 years, after several landmark experiments.  
In the 1980s, a junior lecturer called Alain Aspect, a PhD candidate at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan outside of Paris, carried out a real-life experiment showed that when two photons were fired off from a single atom, the measurement of one photon instantaneously affected the position of the second photon. Whatever happened to one was identical to, or very opposite of, what happened to the other.

Aspect had demonstrated without a doubt, that in one regard, Albert Einstein had been wrong. Particles could travel faster than the speed of light but, more fundamentally, at the lowest layer of matter, things were interconnected.

In a stroke, Aspect’s experiment shattered the very foundations of physics: matter could no long be considered separate and individual.  David Bohm, a University of London physicist, believed that non-locality demonstrated something more fundamental about the universe:  its fundamental interconnection.

Implicate reality
Bohm was an early proponent of the idea that an objective and “hard” reality out there did not in fact exist.   He believed that the world was enfolded in an‘implicate’ state until made explicit, and he used as his model a hologram.

Neuroscientist Karl Pribram came to believe that our perception of the world occurs as a result of a complex reading and transforming of information at a different level of reality. Pribram believed that the brain uses quantum waves, like a hologram, to store vast quantities of information.  Our brains read this information and from this create the three-dimensional world, much as you re-create the image of Princess Leia by shining a laser on the plate. Most important, this model also gave Pribram a model of how you could have localized tasks in the brain but process or store them throughout the larger whole.

The “all in the small” was the aspect of holography that most fascinated Michael Talbot, author of The Holographic Universe — the idea that each tiny portion of the encoded information contains the whole of the image.  If you were to chop up your photographic plate of Princess Leia, and shined a laser beam on any one of them, you would get a full image of the princess.

Talbot was an early proponent of the idea that the whole of the universe was one giant inseparable organism. “Everything interpenetrates everything, and although human nature may seek to categorize and pigeonhole and subdivide, the various phenomena of the universe, all apportionments are of necessity artificial and all of nature is ultimately a seamless web,” he writes.

Happily, science is catching up with the farsightedness of these early pioneers, and it’s not hard to see why. This is a story that resonates deeply with all of us.  Besides scientists, many of us recognize in a very visceral manner that fundamentally we are all one, and something greater and grander than a genetically powered machine.

Every day, we see more evidence of the all in the small.

Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning journalist and the author of seven books, including the worldwide international bestsellers The Power of Eight, The Field, The Intention Experiment and The Bond, all considered seminal books of the New Science and now translated into some 30 languages.

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