Controversial experiment sees no evidence that the universe is a hologram
Working in a disused tunnel with a couple of lasers and a few mirrors, a plucky band of physicists dreamed up a way to test one of the wildest ideas in theoretical physics—a notion from the nearly inscrutable realm of “string theory” that our universe may be like an enormous hologram. However, science doesn’t indulge sentimental favorites. After years of probing the fabric of spacetime for a signal of the “holographic principle,” researchers at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois, have come up empty, as they will report tomorrow at the lab.
Experiments won’t change anything. String theory is one of those theories that has just got to be true, whether it is or not. Because the bill is due for cosmology’s free, non-falsifiable lunch.
They’ve made that clear enough; it’s just no good to argue.
Now, Hogan, Fermilab experimenter Aaron Chou, and colleagues have done the measurement with interferometers with 39-meter-long arms. Unfortunately for them, they find no evidence of holographic noise. “A correlation that you would attribute to novel physics effects is not seen,” says Lee McCuller, a graduate student at the University of Chicago in Illinois, who will present the result in a talk at the lab.
Just what the null result means remains unclear, however. Chen says he has never fully understood neither exactly how the experiment works nor Hogan’s theory of how the holographic principle originates. What’s really needed is some sort of general analysis of what types of theories the experiment can and cannot test, he says. More.
A war on the principle of falsifiability might help. Also, oppo research on presenters of inconvenient evidence.
See also: Multiverse cosmology: Assuming that evidence still matters, what does it say?
In search of a road to reality
The bill arrives for cosmology’s free lunch
If ID theorists are right, how should we study nature?
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