Physicists find evidence that the Universe might be a hologram

Not to worry you, but you might be a hologram. Me too, along with with everyone you've ever met and will meet, your home, your neighbourhood, your city, and in fact everything in the entire Universe. 

That's the conclusion of an international team of physicists who've just released new results showing that their holographic theory fits observations of the early universe just as well as the Big Bang theory does.

"Imagine that everything you see, feel and hear in three dimensions (and your perception of time) in fact emanates from a flat two-dimensional field," explained Kostas Skenderis from the University of Southampton. 

"The idea is similar to that of ordinary holograms where a three-dimensional image is encoded in a two-dimensional surface, such as in the hologram on a credit card. However, this time, the entire universe is encoded!"

Starting to Unravel

New telescopes have, over the past few decades, given physicists much more information about the early universe. That has given theorists an opportunity to put their ideas to the test – to see how well they match up with reality.

A holographic universe is just one of those ideas, and it passed this test, but the traditional Big Bang theory is well-established and has a lot of evidence for it that wasn't tested here. Time will tell if the holographic theory can pass further tests.

"Holography is a huge leap forward in the way we think about the structure and creation of the universe," said Skenderis. "Einstein's theory of general relativity explains almost everything large scale in the universe very well, but starts to unravel when examining its origins and mechanisms at quantum level." 

"Scientists have been working for decades to combine Einstein's theory of gravity and quantum theory. Some believe the concept of a holographic universe has the potential to reconcile the two. I hope our research takes us another step towards this."

So, in summary then, it's too early to say for sure if you're a hologram. But you might be.

The full details of the research were published in the journal Physics Review Letters.

Duncan Geere
Duncan Geere is TechRadar's science writer. Every day he finds the most interesting science news and explains why you should care. You can read more of his stories here, and you can find him on Twitter under the handle @duncangeere.