Cosmology Physics

Sabine Hossenfelder: Why some scientists think the universe is a hologram

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Lost in Math

Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder is the author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, a thoughtful critic of imaginative cosmologies.

Like the universe as a hologram:

Today, I want to tell you why some scientists believe that our universe is really a 3-dimensional projection of a 2-dimensional space. They call it the “holographic principle” and the key idea is this.

Usually, the number of different things you can imagine happening inside a part of space increases with the volume. Think of a bag of particles. The larger the bag, the more particles, and the more details you need to describe what the particles do. These details that you need to describe what happens are what physicists call the “degrees of freedom,” and the number of these degrees of freedom is proportional to the number of particles, which is proportional to the volume.

At least that’s how it normally works. The holographic principle, in contrast, says that you can describe what happens inside the bag by encoding it on the surface of that bag, at the same resolution. …

Personally I think that the motivations for the holographic principle are not particularly strong and in any case we’ll not be able to test this hypothesis in the coming centuries. Therefore writing papers about it is a waste of time. But it’s an interesting idea and at least you now know what physicists are talking about when they say the universe is a hologram.

Sabine Hossenfelder, “Why do some scientists believe that our universe is a hologram?” at BackRe(Action)

And in our next post, experimental physicist Rob Sheldon replies.


Further reading on the hologram universe:

Sabine Hossenfelder: Can gravitational wave interferometers tell us if we live in a hologram universe? It’s actually a good thing if theses in physics don’t gain currency just because they make good TED talks. That could be part of their problem.

How is the hologram universe coming?

Astrophysicist Niayesh Afshordi Explains The Holograph Universe To Suzan Mazur At Oscillations

and

“Substantial evidence” claimed for universe as a hologram

2 Replies to “Sabine Hossenfelder: Why some scientists think the universe is a hologram

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    “Today, I want to tell you why some scientists believe that our universe is really a 3-dimensional projection of a 2-dimensional space.”

    Like Hossenfelder, I also think that is nonsense.

    And I also agree with Hossenfelder that “the motivations for the holographic principle are not particularly strong” and that the empirical evidence for it is non-existent, i.e. “in any case we’ll not be able to test this hypothesis in the coming centuries”.

    Whereas, on the other hand, I do believe that the evidence that the universe is a ‘3-dimensional projection from a higher dimension’ is very strong.

    In the following video, the discovery of the higher dimensional nature of the square root of negative one, which is integral to quantum mechanics, and the discovery of higher dimensional geometry, which is integral to General Relativity, are discussed:

    The Mathematics Of Higher Dimensionality – Gauss & Riemann – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxy3JhPRlV0

    The history of the square root of negative one is particularly interesting to look at. Descartes had rejected complex roots and coined the derogatory term “imaginary” to describe the square root of negative one. Whereas, Gauss, who was the mathematician who finally clearly explained the higher dimensional nature behind the square root of negative one, suggested that complex magnitudes be called “lateral” instead of “imaginary” magnitudes since they represent a dimensional extension of the continuum. Gauss also proposed that complex magnitudes be awarded “full civil rights.”
    The author further comments, in the language of Plato’s allegory of the cave, complex numbers represent “forms” from a higher dimension casting “shadows” on the real number line.

    Complex Magnitudes
    Excerpt: Descartes had rejected complex roots and coined the derogatory term “imaginary” to describe the square root of negative one, , but Leibniz thought that “The divine spirit found a sublime outlet in that wonder of analysis, that portent of the ideal world, that amphibian between being and non-being, which we call the imaginary root of negative unity.”
    Gauss invented the “complex plane” (shown below) to represent these quantities. He suggested that complex magnitudes be called “lateral” instead of “imaginary” magnitudes since they represent a dimensional extension of the continuum.
    Gauss also proposed that complex magnitudes be awarded “full civil rights.”
    In the language of Plato’s allegory of the cave, complex numbers represent “forms” from a higher dimension casting “shadows” on the real number line.

    http://www.keplersdiscovery.com/ComplexNum.html

    And in quantum mechanics, we find that the square root of negative one is necessary for describing the wave packet prior to measurement.

    Why do you need imaginary numbers (the square root of negative one) to describe Quantum Mechanics?
    “Quantum theory needs existence of an x such that x^2= -1. The reason for this is that orthogonal function spaces, of dimension greater than 2, cannot exist otherwise. In fact the only place where i (the square root of negative one) is needed is in the wave packet prior to measurement. Even the Canonical Commutation Relation doesn’t need it. And nor do the eigenvalue equations. In those, any general scalar will do. But in the wave packet, you need an i.”
    – Steve Faulkner – Philosophy of Science, Logic, Epistemology
    https://www.researchgate.net/post/Why_do_you_need_imaginary_numbers_to_describe_Quantum_Mechanics2

    What was not mentioned in the preceding ‘The Mathematics Of Higher Dimensionality’ video, or in the article, is that the wave function is also represented as being in an infinite dimensional Hilbert space:

    Wave function
    Excerpt “wave functions form an abstract vector space”,,, This vector space is infinite-dimensional, because there is no finite set of functions which can be added together in various combinations to create every possible function.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.....ctor_space

    Why do we need infinite-dimensional Hilbert spaces in physics?
    You need an infinite dimensional Hilbert space to represent a wavefunction of any continuous observable (like position for example).
    https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/149786/why-do-we-need-infinite-dimensional-hilbert-spaces-in-physics

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: We now have, in physics, two theories of great power and interest: the theory of quantum phenomena and the theory of relativity.,,, The two theories operate with different mathematical concepts: the four dimensional Riemann space and the infinite dimensional Hilbert space,
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    Moreover, we find that the infinite dimensional Hilbert space takes an infinite amount of information to describe properly.

    Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh
    Excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a (quantum) qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1)
    http://www.cas.umt.edu/phil/fa.....lPSA2K.pdf

    Quantum Computing – Stanford Encyclopedia
    Excerpt: Theoretically, a single qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (and thus collapsing the superposition of the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,,
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entr.....tcomp/#2.1

    WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Infinity – Max Tegmark
    Excerpt: real numbers with their infinitely many decimals have infested almost every nook and cranny of physics, from the strengths of electromagnetic fields to the wave functions of quantum mechanics: we describe even a single bit of quantum information (qubit) using two real numbers involving infinitely many decimals.
    https://www.edge.org/response-detail/25344

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Here is an interesting quote about the infinite dimensional Hilbert Spaces in quantum mechanics that is particularly relevant to Hossenfelder’s video:

    The Applicability of Mathematics as a Philosophical Problem – Mark Steiner – (page 44)
    Excerpt: Let us now recapitulate: beginning with the concept of a Hilbert space, a certain kind of (usually infinite-dimensional) vector space, and the formal requirement that a unit vector on the space represents all possible information can be gleaned. First, the space cannot be a real vector space; the usual formalism is, therefore, based on a complex Hilbert space. With this formalism the Heisenberg uncertainty principle follows directly. So does the quantization of angular momentum, including the so called “space quantization”. So does the prediction that “electron spin” cannot be due to spatial rotation. And so do the selection rules for the spectrum of hydrogen, based on the “nonphysical” concept of parity.
    The role of Hilbert spaces in quantum mechanics, then, is much more profound than the descriptive role of a single concept. An entire formalism-the Hilbert space formalism-is matched with nature. Information about nature is being “read off” the details of the formalism. (Imagine reading off details about elementary particles from the rules of chess-castling. en passant-a la Lewis Carro;; in Through the Looking Glass.) No physicist today understands why this is possible..
    https://books.google.com/books?id=GKBwKCma1HsC&pg=PA44

    As should be needless to say, the preceding findings are very comforting to Christian presuppositions about the omniscient and omnipresent Mind of God upholding this universe in its continual existence.

    Psalm 147:5
    Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; his understanding is infinite

    Psalms 139:7-12
    Where can I go from Your Spirit?
    Or where can I flee from Your presence?
    If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
    If I make my bed in [a]hell, behold, You are there.
    If I take the wings of the morning,
    And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
    Even there Your hand shall lead me,
    And Your right hand shall hold me.
    If I say, “Surely the darkness shall [b]fall on me,”
    Even the night shall be light about me;
    Indeed, the darkness [c]shall not hide from You,
    But the night shines as the day;
    The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

    Colossians 1:17
    He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

    Acts 17:28
    for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’

    Further evidence for the the claim that the omniscient and omnipresent Mind of God is upholding this universe in its continual existence is found in the extremely tight correspondence between the actions we see in quantum mechanics and some of the fundamental defining attributes that we have for consciousness. (i.e. the defining attributes of Free will and ‘the experience of the now’ respectfully)

    How Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness Correlate – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f0hL3Nrdas

    Supplemental notes:

    June 2019 – And whereas, atheists have no compelling evidence for all the various extra dimensions, parallel universe and/or multiverse scenarios that they have put forth, Christians, on the other hand, (as is shown in the following video), can appeal directly to the higher dimensional mathematics behind Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity and General Relativity to support their belief that God upholds this universe in its continual existence, as well as to support their belief in a heavenly dimension and in a hellish dimension.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/rob-sheldon-taken-seriously-the-multiverse-proves-the-existence-of-god/#comment-678717

    July 2019 – Moreover, allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned,,,, (Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders),,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands (with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after “Theory of Everything”. Here are a few posts where I lay out and defend some of the evidence for that claim:
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-multiverse-is-just-religion-theoretical-physicist-charges/#comment-680519

    Overturning of the Copernican Principle by both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/we-are-invited-to-consider-a-simpler-perspective-on-the-laws-of-physics/#comment-680427

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