Further to Nature’s take on ‘Life and planets got started near the Big Bang,’” Nature also advises us of computer simulations that support the idea that our universe is a hologram, “just one big projection.” Of what it is a projection is not so much as suggested:
In 1997, theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena proposed1 that an audacious model of the Universe in which gravity arises from infinitesimally thin, vibrating strings could be reinterpreted in terms of well-established physics. The mathematically intricate world of strings, which exist in nine dimensions of space plus one of time, would be merely a hologram: the real action would play out in a simpler, flatter cosmos where there is no gravity.
Maldacena’s idea thrilled physicists because it offered a way to put the popular but still unproven theory of strings on solid footing — and because it solved apparent inconsistencies between quantum physics and Einstein’s theory of gravity. It provided physicists with a mathematical Rosetta stone, a ‘duality’, that allowed them to translate back and forth between the two languages, and solve problems in one model that seemed intractable in the other and vice versa. But although the validity of Maldacena’s ideas has pretty much been taken for granted ever since, a rigorous proof has been elusive.
It still is, apparently. Although Japanese physicists have provided “at least compelling evidence that Maldacena’s conjecture is true,” … “Neither of the model universes explored by the Japanese team resembles our own, Maldacena notes. … ”
This claim seems to depend on string theory, which apparently hasn’t fared too well of late.
But why be surprised?
Leonard Susskind reportedly told Alan Guth, “You know, the most amazing thing is that they pay us for this,” and Nobelist David Gross (the fellow who “hates” the Big Bang) has admitted about string theory, “We don’t know what we are talking about.” But they do know what they are not talking about, and that is enough.