What if a perceived 3D concept is a universe inside a two-dimensional hologram? This theory is popular, to say the least.

The Holographic Principle

Holograms are beyond intriguing. With holograms, what seems to be 3D is only a 2D illusion. For instance, credit cards and bank notes are prime examples of this.

The Holographic Principle says the universe needs fewer dimensions than we thought in order to have a correct mathematical description. Previously, this principle was only tested in areas with negative curvature. Scientists at TU Wien (Vienna) now conclude that this principle can even be true as well, in flat space-time.

Daniel Grumiller of TU Wien says: “In 1997, physicists Juan Maldacena suggested that there is a correspondence between gravitational theories in curved spaces and quantum field theories in fewer dimensional spaces.”

The theory of gravitational phenomena suggests there are three dimensions, two of which calculate quantum particles producing results that can be mapped together. Over ten thousand papers have been published, by Maldacina, proving this successful method.


Apparently, we do not live in such anti-de-sitter locations. Where our universe is flat, such negative spaces have strange properties. An object thrown straight can come back to its origin. Although this theory is important, it has little to do with our corner of the universe.

Our universe, on astronomical differences has a positive curvature,” says Grumiller.

Grumiller does, however, believe there could be a correspondence between the two. To test this idea, theories have to be created that do not require exotic places, such as the anti-de-sitter locations. Flat places are the fodder we need for the tests.

The validity of correspondence in a flat universe has been confirmed by Grumiller and colleagues from Japan and India, and also published in the Physical Review Letters.

For three years, Grumiller, along with the researchers from the University of Edinburgh, Harvard, IISER Pune, MIT and the University of Kyoto, have been working on these theories.

Calculations must agree,” says Grumiller. “There has to be physical quantities in order for quantum gravity in flat spaces to include a holographic description by a quantum theory. The results have to agree and these physical quantities must be calculated in both theories.”

When quantum particles become entangled, they become one object, whether near or far. Quantum entanglement, one of the most important feature of quantum mechanics must appear in the gravitational theory.

This entropy of entanglement represents the amount of entanglement in a quantum system.

Daniel Grumiller, together with Max Reigler, Arjun Bagchi and Rudranil Basu, showed that entropy of entanglement has the same value in flat gravity as in a low dimension theory.

“Just a few years ago, it was hard to imagine such things. All this talk about quantum information and Entropy of entanglement would have seemed rather far-fetched,” says Grumiller. “The fact that we are able to use tools to test the holographic principle is remarkable.”

The theory of a holographic universe is a corresponding principle that could prove to be valid. We may actually be living within a two-dimensional hologram.

Of course, there is no conclusive evidence, but signs point to yes. How’s that for unexpected?

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